Campaigners believe they can still save Workington Opera House
Published at 11:37, Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Campaigners are confident they can save a redundant theatre even though permission to bulldoze the building has been granted.
Members of Opera Action Ltd were dealt a bitter blow last week when plans to flatten Workington’s Opera House were given the go-ahead. But spokesman Joe Holliday said he is still hopeful that the historic building can be saved and is in talks with owners Graves (Cumberland) Limited about purchasing the site.
Permission has been granted by Allerdale Council to flatten the building to make way for a shopping and flats complex. It replaces planning permission granted three years ago that expired.
Mr Holliday is awaiting the results of a structural survey which will take place in the next few weeks.
And the councillor, who secured £10,000 from his county council’s members’ fund to pay for the survey, said he is positive that it will reveal the Opera House is structurally sound.
The group will then look at ways to get funding to purchase the theatre, as well as gathering public support for its revival.
“We are working with the owners who are still happy to co-operate with us,” Mr Holliday said.
“It is a brilliant theatre and is special to the people of Workington and west Cumbria. It will be a great asset to the town. We have got a lot of people on our side and they don’t think it’s a lost cause.”
When it was revealed three years ago that Graves wanted to demolish the building it caused an uproar. The latest planning application attracted objections from two businesses and the Theatres Trust.
Martin Tognarelli, director of Tognarelli Coffee Shop in Pow Street, said he feared that the demolition of the Opera House would result in damage to his property, which joins it.
He also said that the proposed building’s height would significantly reduce the amount of natural light to his property, resulting in poor working conditions.
Tony Hargreave, of Supernews Stores, which trades in Pow Street said: “We object to the application on the basis that the current provision of three shops in this location is sufficient to meet demand from the shopping public.”
However, an Allerdale planning officer said that the letters of objection do not introduce any new evidence to warrant refusal in relation to the planning application granted three years ago.
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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