A POPULAR North-East rock venue may be saved from closure in council spending cuts.

The 75-year-old Newcastle City Hall could be taken over by the Theatre Royal Trust.

The city council had been looking to close the venue in a drive to save £100m.

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It now says it talking to the Theatre Royal Trust about ti taking on the management and that it is “optimistic about a positive outcome.”

Thirteen thousand people signed an online petition opposing closure.

And the former frontman of Geordie legends Lindisfarne, Ray Jackson, agreed to revive the band’s legendary Christmas shows for the next five years.

The first , on December 23, sold out in three hours, and a second one was added for the day day before and is on its way to selling out.

Promoter Barry McKay, who has come out of retirement to stage the shows, said he was “elated’’ by the news.

Lindisfarne played more shows at the City Hall than any other act and last summer a blue plaque was unveiled outside the venue to the group’s creative driving force Alan Hull, who died in 1995.

Mr McKay said that he hoped the venue’s management expertise in organising rock shows would be retained if the Theatre Royal took over.

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