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Working for a regional theatre in Farnham

NEWS FLASH TAKE ACTION NOW to Save Farnham’s Heritage! Listed Building Consent Application WA/2017/2028 Deadline date 8th December 2017+
Also read background information - Waverley Planning - Non-Material Amendment (NMA)

On 15th June Waverley's Joint Planning Committee decided by 15 votes to 8 to allow developers Crest Nicholson Sainsbury (CNS) to demolish the Brightwells Tennis Club Pavilion before the 7th August, when the present planning permission runs out for their East Street/Brightwells development. The Non-Material Amendment (NMA)approved on the 15th was a scaled-down version of the original, which had included the demolition of the Redgrave Theatre among several other very material works. Due to many strong objections, CNS revised their schedule of works and eventually asked only for permission to remove the tennis facility and for the provision of temporary 'welfare facilities' - toilets. However, the impact will be just as significant as CNS will now be allowed to occupy the Brightwells site for an indefinite period of time, without having the funds with which to complete the development. As the contract between Waverley and CNS is still conditional, the future of East Street could look very bleak.

There is an alternative. Legal action taken against Waverley is a possibility. Over the years, the Borough Council has allowed undue advantage to Crest Nicholson over other competitive bidders to the original brief. Several of the required elements of the development have been dropped, for example the Bowling Clubhouse and Green, the Cobbett Clock, the CAB building and (News of NMA continued below)

(Continued from above) Waverley Planning - Non-Material Amendment (NMA)

... most recently he Gostrey Day Centre, as well as the avoidance of requirements of several Planning Policies and an Environmental Impact Assessment. A solicitor's letter of objection made on behalf of the Farnham Interest Group, to the NMA throws down the gauntlet to Waverley, challenging the Council to re-open the bidding for the development to ensure best value and fair competion in line with EU law. This appears to be the opening move before action is possible.

In preparation for any such legal action, FTA Consultant, Michael Holden has been busy preparing an alternative scheme for Brightwells with the support of local retired architect, Michael Blower. A scheme has been devised which includes the possibility of the Redgrave Theatre running in combination with Curzon Cinemas, and this plan has the approval of the Farnham Society and has awoken the interest of the Farnham Town Council. The plan retains Brightwell House as a restaurant and is the centrepiece of an area of parkland, contained by two terraces of town houses to the south. Retail units with cinema screens above are planned to the north and another terrace of housing is placed above a car park on the east side. Affordable housing is included over the retail units. We hope to tell you more of this exciting development and as events evolve, we will keep you informed of further progress. See Brightwells Restored image here...

(NB Past News Items below)
Events Public Inquiry Past News Jeremy Hunt  Mike Simpson UCA Farnham

A Meeting with Jeremy Hunt, MP

Jeremy Hunt MPFTA’s meeting on 12 December 2009 with Jeremy Hunt MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) was very positive. With Rebecca Ball, acting Director for Arts, South East Arts Council England (SEACE) we discussed how the expectations of the thousands of objectors to the demolition of the Redgrave could be met. Our MP suggested that as more Lottery money would return to the Arts once the Olympic Games were over, that FTA should apply for a grant of about £2.5 million towards the building of a new theatre, or possibly a smaller amount if the Redgrave was still available. This would represent half the money required with the remainder to be raised by FTA. We have since been advised at the MP’s request by Rebecca Ball of points to make when making the application.


A little care shows Redgrave's potential

Waverley Borough Council has recently demolished unwanted buildings surrounding the Redgrave and laid turf to tidy up the site. This new vista of the theatre demonstrates how attractive the area could be with the theatre fully restored and improved.
Redgrave TurfRedgrave TurfRedgrave Turf


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