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Fresh plans for £5million arts centre submitted
A REVISED planning application to turn a dilapidated activity centre in Ringwood into a £4.5million arts centre has been submitted to New Forest District Council.
The planning application to demolish Greyfriars activity centre and replace it with a theatre building complete with café and bar was put on hold earlier this year after concerns about noise, traffic and car parking.
Since then members of Ringwood and District Community Association and the Ringwood Musical and Dramatic Society have modified the original plan.
Project group chairman Mike Osborne said: “There has been a lot of consultation with town, district and county planners, concentrating on revising the application, and we believe the issues of concern have now been addressed.
“There have been some detailed design changes with the structure itself to take into account issues which had been raised about neighbouring properties. Particular attention has been paid to the fly tower, which is an essential element in the operation of this multi-purpose building.
“The modifications in total have actually resulted in improvements to the community use – so we’re obviously happy to have achieved that.”
Planners were concerned about a lack of car parking and traffic generated by users of the arts centre, but Mr Osborne says changes to the original car park layout and land tenure have resolved these issues in principle.
Some 260 people commented on the district council’s planning website about the original application, of which 220 comments were enthusiastically for the scheme.
Mr Osborne added: “Fundamentally, the vision for the arts centre remains the same as before – to provide Ringwood with a multi-use community hall.
“There is a lot of support around the town, from community users, businesses and sports groups. People really want to see this happen.”
The proposed independently-funded building, designed by Ringwood architects Williams Lester, is expected to cost between £4.5 and £5million.
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