Revised proposals by architect 3DReid for an extension of Lancaster’s grade two-listed Grand Theatre have been recommended for approval, more than 10 years after planning permission was first granted.
The latest plans are to create an additional 4,200 sq ft of space in a two-storey extension providing a new entrance, box office, and a stair core to the theatre’s existing circle, stalls, and first-floor performance space. It also has the potential to accommodate some café space.
The grade two-listed theatre sits to the North East of the city centre, within a conservation zone; the site of the proposed extension covers around a quarter of an acre to the rear of the existing building along St Leonard Gate.
This extension will be joined to the existing building via a glazed link, while the new-build exterior will be clad in sandstone rainscreen with glazed curtain walling. A stone-paved plaza to the front, featuring tree planting, will face St Leonard Gate and the architect said this would “help to promote the theatre and its cultural significance to the city”.
A planning application for the site was first approved in 2008 but this lapsed due to a lack of implementation. A further application was submitted and then withdrawn in 2016 due to highways issues.
Recommending the project for approval when Lancaster City Council’s planning committee meets next Monday, officers said: “The proposal has been carefully designed to ensure that the impact on the listed building would not amount to greater than ‘less than substantial’ harm.
“It is considered that this harm is outweighed by the public benefit that would results from the enhancement of the facilities at the theatre, which are desperately needed to secure its continued growth and success.”
The plans are recommended for approval subject to the resolution of highways issues, including works for a new access, a dropped kerb, and reinstatement of a footway.
The trustees of the theatre have been looking at enhancing the building and integrating it into the long-discussed Canal Corridor North site since 2005.
Earlier this year, Lancaster City Council announced it had terminated its development agreement with British Land on the 16-acre Canal Corridor North site, and that it would be creating a new development framework for the area. The Grand is set to fall within this masterplan.
The professional team also includes structural engineer Rydal Engineering; quantity surveyor Kynoch Lewis Partnership; Waterman as ecological consultant; and building services engineer ESC.