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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Controversial plans for Cockermouth arts centre revamp get go-ahead

A £1.5 million plan to extend and modernise the Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth has been approved by the Government.

Bosses at the centre submitted an application to extend the arts venue and modernise and upgrade their facilities.

It was turned down by Allerdale council’s development panel in October despite officers recommending approval.

The plans were also supported by English Heritage and Cockermouth Civic Trust as well as many local people.

A Government inspector has today overruled Allerdale’s decision and said the extension can go ahead.

Dr Anna Clark, chairwoman of Kirkgate Arts that runs the centre, said: “After nearly three years of hard work it is very good news.

“This positive outcome will kickstart our efforts to raise the funds to enable this important development to be completed.

“The decision will mean that this vital part of our community will move towards becoming self-sufficient, continuing to contribute to Cockermouth’s vibrant arts and cultural scene.

“During the planning process we received considerable local support. I would like to thank all those people for their time and encouragement.”

The plans include partly demolishing the east and west gables of the former Victorian school and adding two zinc-clad extensions linked to the existing building with glass walkways.

The extension would include a foyer with a cafe bar, seating area and box office, a community meeting room, better offices and improved seating, lighting and sound equipment in the auditorium.

The scheme has split opinion in the town with Allerdale council receiving a 366-name petition in support of the plans and more than 65 letters of support, but was also given a 266-name petition against the scheme and 59 letters of objection. Cockermouth Town Council also objected.

Kirkgate Arts has been awarded full costs against Allerdale council.

Have your say

DW "nobody seems concerned"

Who on earth have you been talking to?

Posted by Rebecca Hanson on 11 July 2013 at 18:17

This is what happens when the councillors on development panel listen to the protestors (a minority), I'm glad they have strapped on a pair for the applications in maryport and dearham and went with approval. this is good news

Posted by John on 11 July 2013 at 09:05

View all 8 comments on this article

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