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Vision unveiled for Yarmouth chapel

PUBLISHED: 09:36 19 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:07 30 June 2010

This vision of relaxed, al fresco lunches against the impressive backdrop of a revamped St Georges Chapel is just two years away from reality - providing plans submitted today are approved.

This vision of relaxed, al fresco lunches against the impressive backdrop of a revamped St Georges Chapel is just two years away from reality - providing plans submitted today are approved.

The borough council-led project will breathe new life into St George's Chapel and the surrounding area thanks to an £8m package of grant funding.

Designed by John Price, a disciple of Christopher Wren, St George's Chapel was built in 1714, as an overspill for St Nicholas's Church, symbolising the wealth and prestige of the borough.

In recent years it has fallen into disrepair after a spell as a “makeshift” theatre.

If planning permission and listed building consent is granted, the Grade I listed baroque building will host a variety of performance and cultural activities, seating around 300 people.

Under the plans a pavilion will added on the pedestrianised St George's Plain, housing a café/bar, toilets, and front of house/ticket sales for the venue, with an outdoor performance area helping to animate the Plain.

Once work is completed, the buildings will be leased by the borough council to the St George's Arts Centre Trust- which will oversee decision making and take on a general manager.

Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive, Peter Wilson, as Chairman of the Trust, is overseeing the plans, with renowned architects Hopkins Architects leading the project design, working closely with English Heritage, and leading theatre consultancy, Charcoalblue.

To reduce the dominance of traffic in the area, over £2m is being spent on changing traffic flows. Yarmouth Way has been realigned to help restore the setting of the chapel to that of its historic footprint.

Widened pavements, new pedestrian crossing points, cycle links and improved street lighting will all add to the vibrant new cultural area - with the green corridor that was started as part of the St George's Park refurbishment extended along Yarmouth Way through to King Street.

Barry Coleman, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “I am really delighted that we have reached the latest stage of a widely shared desire to breathe new life into St George's Chapel and the surrounding area.”

Work will start on the building by the Autumn and the project will be completed by Spring 2012. Meanwhile, work to improve the streetscape and the setting of the Chapel is nearly complete.

The planning application can be viewed at www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk from today .

The bulk of the funding has come from the Governement's Sea Change programme, with significant chunks from the Heritage Lottery, East of England Development Agency, Norfolk County Council, Great Yarmouth Borough Council and English Heritage.


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