Arts group’s plans blocked by council

York Road Drill Hall in Great Yarmouth.

York Road Drill Hall in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

An arts group face a set back with their ambitious plan to create a centre of excellence after borough councillors refused their planning application.

SeaChange Arts had been hoping to get approval for the second phase of their project to establish an international creation centre at the former Drill Hall in York Road.

The organisation wanted to put vintage caravans in a barn at the site to be used for over night accommodation for visiting artists, close part of an alleyway, and use a former chip factory as a workshop for artists.

The communications director at SeaChange, Darren Cross, said: “It is obviously a bit disappointing and a bit of a set back. I think we will take a couple of days to reevaluate our plans and communicate with the planning department as to the best course of action.”

Mr Cross made the case for approval to the borough’s planning committee on Wednesday night.

He said providing overnight accommodation was vital to their plans to become an international centre, adding: “I know there is a lot of affordable accommodation in Great Yarmouth but for a company of four that is £600 for a week.”

Cllr Paul Hammond refuted this, saying you can get accommodation for £15 a night in Wellesley Road.

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A portion of the historic town wall was to be gifted to the charity by the borough council on the condition that they maintain it.

Objections from neighbours noted that the historic Town Wall will be closed off, but Mr Cross stated that visitors and tour guides would still be able to view the wall with the permission of SeaChange.

The council’s planning officers recommended the plans were approved on a temporary basis of 12 months in order to assess the impact on neighbours. Four Ukip and two Conservative councillors voted to refuse plans, whereas four Labour and two Conservative voted to approve them. Committee chairman Cllr Annison, a Ukip councillor has the casting vote and the application was rejected.