A NEW theatre is to be created at The Grand in an exciting £1million-plus expansion scheme unveiled this week.
It will give Clitheroe’s premier arts and performance venue the ability to stage two main events at the same time and provide more space for school events.
The scheme has been passed by Ribble Valley planning councillors and the work will start before the end of this year, ready for opening in 2014.
Clitheroe architects Stanton Andrews have designed it, and the project is expected to be put out to tender within three months.
An old outbuilding in Back York Street will be demolished to make way for the modern two-storey extension, built of stone, glass and metal to the same high quality as the existing modern conversion that transformed the listed former town cinema.
It will house a 130-seat theatre which will double as a cinema and performance space for live events. Access will be from the main front entrance in York Street.
It will also combine with additional technical and creative studios at the existing basement level.
Mr Steven Lancaster, The Grand’s executive director, said: “I would like to thank the council for the approval of our planning application.
“This will provide much needed space and improve logistics and circulation, and the extra room will enable the continued growth of our arts and music-based community projects for the foreseeable future.”
He thanked councillors for their “kind and positive comments” and added: “I found myself somewhat overwhelmed and humbled by the level of their support.”
The plan faced objections from near neighbours worried about noise, extra traffic, and loss of privacy and light.
Mr Lancaster added: “We will ensure to work constructively with our neighbours, as we have done over the last five years, to ensure that this fantastic resource continues to operate with the minimum of impact or disruption on our local residents.”
The Grand’s management started the extension project 12 months ago because the venue has grown hugely in popularity since it opened. Audiences and hirers are mainly from the Ribble Valley and surrounding area and include most of the borough’s primary and high schools.
The GRAB high school talent show final at The Grand had a sell-out audience of 350, and an estimated 10,000 people watched it via the internet on Youstream. Live streaming will be a big part of The Grand’s offer in future.