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Mixed reaction to arts centre plan for Ringwood
PLANS to turn a dilapidated activity centre in Ringwood into a £4.5million art centre received a mixed reaction.
A planning application to demolish Greyfriars activity centre and replace it with a three-storey theatre building complete with cafe and bar has been submitted to New Forest District Council by Mike Osborne of Greyfriars Community Centre.
While 256 people have commented on the application, most lodging their support, concerns have been raised by the district council’s environmental health officers and Ringwood Town Council.
Resident Jane Howell said: “At last someone is doing something about providing the Ringwood community with a wonderful multi-purpose venue that will be available for future generations.
“Not only will we have a ‘proper’ theatre for the many different theatrical groups, schools and dance schools that we have in Ringwood but we will have a cinema and venue for exhibitions, large meetings or conferences.”
Canon John Turpin said: “I was vicar of Ringwood for 25 years. I had a close association with the performing arts, drama and music and came to understand that Ringwood really does need an arts centre of this type.
“There are no community halls large enough for concerts or large-scale dramatic productions other than the school theatre (out of term time) and the parish church. This development would be a great asset to the town.”
A spokesman for Greyfriars Pre-School said the scheme would benefit the group and a representative of Ringwood Music and Drama Society said the arts centre would allow the younger generation to create shows in Ringwood rather than its current location in Verwood.
However environmental health officers said: “This application represents a significant change and intensification of use.
“The principal concern is that the applicant has supplied no information on potential noise and odour impact or how they may mitigate these impacts.”
The district council’s landscapes team recommend refusal due to a loss of trees.
And Ringwood Town Council’s planning committee said: “The majority of the committee shared concerns raised by environmental health, landscaping and highways.”
Mr Osborne said the issues raised were being addressed by the architect.