Royal Court targets September for planning decision

Michael Hunt

The board of trustees looking after the management of the Grade 2-listed theatre in Roe Street in Liverpool city centre hope a planning decision will be made in four months.

Plans were submitted to Liverpool City Council last week with main external changes involving building out under the existing canopy and creating a new glass frontage, creating a terrace on top of the canopy and building a pod on the side of the building to create more backstage and office space.

The Royal Court Liverpool Trust is hoping a decision on the proposals can be made around the same time it plans to apply for a second round of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A development grant of £116,200 was awarded from HLF in 2010 towards the £10m scheme. The theatre declined to disclose how much grant funding it hopes to gain in September when asked by Place.

However, the theatre will add a further £10,000 towards the cost in July from its £1 ticket levy scheme launched in March last year.

The theatre said the ticket levy has stayed at £80,000 because it is only transferred over after a production has finished and it hasn't had many shows on in the last couple of months.

Once its production of Brick Up the Mersey Tunnels has finished on 30 July, the theatre will have raised £90,000.

If successful at second round of HLF funding, the trust said it will have raised over £1m.

Gillian Miller, founder and chief executive of the Royal Court Liverpool Trust, said: "It has been a great project to be involved with so far and the submission for planning is a real landmark in our plans to renovate the theatre. Liverpool City Council have been very supportive to date and we hope that they will grant us planning for the overall scheme to renovate the Royal Court in the near future. Our second round bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund will be made in September and if successful at this stage, we may be able to start work on the building in 2012."

The Royal Court Liverpool Trust was granted a long lease on the building in November last year of 30 years from Liverpool City Council.

Paul Monaghan, from Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the architects on the project, is giving a talk at the Racquet Club in Chapel Street, Liverpool city centre, on Thursday 26 May at 1pm. The event is organised by publicly funded architecture and built environment centre for the North West, Places Matter!

On 21 June, Monaghan will also be holding a talk about the plans at the Royal Court theatre as part of the RIBA Architecture Festival 2011. The free event starts from 5pm.

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I wish them well with the refurbishment of the Royal Court, it is long over due.

By Barbara

love this venue – as a music venue!

By Jonny Williams