Every Friday for two decades, the Phoenix Concert Band has met in Sutton College to ply its trade.

But now the band has been forced out of its home due to budget cuts.

Phoenix was not longer able to practice at the college after it was decided the school would now close on Friday evenings, requiring all those classes to wind up, move to another time or day, or move elsewhere.

Brian Glicksman, saxophonist and chairman of the band, said: "It is sad and disappointing that we will not be able to continue to meet on Friday evenings at the college, after being there for about twenty years.

"It was odd that we first learned that the college was to close on Friday evenings by accident from another class, rather than direct from the college. But the band will go on, and go on playing good music."

But the principal of the college, Dipa Gangui, said the band was given ample notice.

"Apart from the Big Band on Friday evenings, we had our own courses, but the centre was underutilised and was not cost effective to keep it open," she said.

"The Big Band were given a term’s notice and were even offered alternative days and times.

"All our courses have been moved to alternative nights and the feedback so far has been very positive as we have managed to attract new learners making the classes more viable."

Mr Glicksman confirmed that the band was offered a spot to rehearse on Saturday mornings, but that it was "not practical" for the members.

The 35-piece band has been a staple at the Chipstead Flower Show and Christmas concert for the Friends' Meeting House for many years.

Sutton Councillor Richard Clifton, who plays trumpet for the band, said: "It would have been tragic if the band had simply folded, after all these years.

"Its standard has improved dramatically over time and the feedback we get at our performances is always positive."

Ms Ganguli said it was not an easy decision to close on Friday evenings.

"You may be aware that the further education sector has for many years faced severe funding cuts; in particular the impact on adult and community learning providers have been worse as we are not able to access funding that GFE colleges can.," she said.

"The decision to close Friday evenings was not a decision that the governors and I took lightly, however, my first priority is to offer quality provision for the learners and to safeguard jobs for my staff and any potential job losses have to be mitigated against reducing all other expenditure.

"Sutton College did not profit from the external hire to the band, but the subsidised rent was no longer an option going forward."

The band's dilemma did have a happy ending though, as it was offered facilities to continue meeting on Friday evenings at the hall of a local church, Christchurch.