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Scheme for £60K public stage for New Milton is given go-ahead
6:31pm Friday 15th March 2013 in New Forest
PLANS to provide a Hampshire town with a new entertainment venue costing more than £60,000 have been given the go-ahead.
Civic chiefs have approved an application to build a large circular stage in the middle of a recreation ground in Whitefield Road, New Milton.
The facility, which includes an open-sided pavilion, is expected to open later this year.
It is likely to be used by drama and dance groups as well as providing a setting for plays, concerts and outdoor gym classes.
The scheme has been drawn up by New Milton Town Council, which is anxious to improve facilities for young people in the area. Members of the district council’s planning committee approved the proposed development, despite claims that the facility could result in noise and anti-social behaviour.
Town councillor Janette Duke told the committee: “It will create a real heart to our town.
“New Milton needs its young people and will only retain them if it’s seen as a vibrant place to live.”
The district council had received several letters of objection citing the noise likely to be endured by people living near the site.
But the application was approved by an overwhelming majority.
Cllr Michael Thierry said: “We’ve heard a great deal of negative comment about a project of which the town council can be rightly proud.
“We need to recognise that recreation grounds are not cemeteries – they generate healthy noise.”
Cllr Maureen Holding told Cllr Duke: “You’ve done a great job.
“This will help to stem vandalism and other problems because the kids will have something useful and practical.”
Representatives from New Milton Residents’ Association warned that the scheme could become a white elephant.
However, a report to councillors said Forest Arts Centre fully supported the idea of a flexible space where community and professional organisations could entertain the public.
Designed by Chrysalis Arts, the “performance pavilion” will be built near homes in Charlotte Court and Park View Mews.