Thumbs up for Chichester Festival Theatre’s proposals

STRONG support for Chichester Festival Theatre’s ambitious proposals for a £22m package of alterations and improvements was given by city councillors.

A final decision on the application for planning permission will be made by the district council, but the city planning and conservation committee unanimously agreed to raise no objection, and to ‘warmly welcome’ the plans.

City council planning adviser Tim Paine said the ‘comprehensive and well thought-out’ proposals respected the uniqueness of the iconic theatre building and its setting. “When implemented, they will greatly enhance the character and appearance of the listed building and its parkland setting within the conservation area,” he added in a report.

Committee chairman Cllr Michael Woolley said this was a very exciting proposal indeed, and Cllr Andrew Smith thought it was a wonderful design.

Cllr Richard Plowman said the scheme retained what was the essence of the building. “This is one of the iconic buildings of Chichester,” he added.

City mayor Tony French also declared his support for the new proposals, which include the demolition of post-1962 extensions and refurbishing the original hexagonal auditorium and foyer, as well as new-build foyer side extensions and a back-of-house extension.

The remodelling of hard landscaping approach roads with a new central piazza is planned.