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£4.5m Ringwood arts centre scheme facing rejection by planners
MULTI-million-pound plans to build a showpiece arts centre in a Hampshire town are likely to be thrown out tomorrow, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Civic chiefs are being urged to reject an application from Ringwood Community Association, which wants to transform a town centre site by building a three-storey complex housing a raft of new facilities.
Backed by the Ringwood Society and the town council, the arts centre would include a bar and a 300-seat theatre.
But the £4.5m scheme, which involves the demolition of Greyfriars Community Centre, has split the community.
New Forest District Council has received more than 270 letters citing the potential benefits. However, the application has also sparked 62 letters of objection from people worried about the loss of trees and parking spaces.
The proposal is due to be debated by the council’s planning and development control committee tomorrow.
A report to councillors praises several aspects of the scheme but says the building would have an adverse impact on neighbouring homes and should be rejected.
The report says: “There is no doubt that the proposed development would be a very significant community and cultural asset. The building would provide access to theatre and music for all groups and ages.
“The development is unquestionably a very ambitious proposal that would significantly enhance Ringwood’s cultural status and the town’s appeal as an entertainment centre.
“On the negative side the proposal would have an adverse impact on trees, and the setting of the new building would, in places, appear cramped and awkward.
“On balance it is felt that the impact of the development on these properties would be too severe to justify the granting of planning permission.”
Plans to build the new arts centre were unveiled exactly a year ago. Speaking at the time project leader Mike Osborne said it would provide Ringwood with something it had lacked for years – a venue for large events.
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