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Planning permission granted to bring new life to historic treasure

​​​​​​​Planning permission has been granted for the restoration and conversion of Swansea's historic Palace Theatre building.

ChaplinPalaceCrop

The plan will see the 132-year-old six-storey structure become home to tech, start-up and creative businesses.

Works will include the reinstatement and restoration of the auditorium balustrading. A section of tiered seating will be retained to form social seating and presentation space, with the ability to accommodate small scale events.

The interior will retain the existing floors that look down towards a stage - as theatre audiences once would have done.

The planning application, submitted to Swansea planners in September, has now been approved. It shows the building's structure maintained with the retention and restoration of original historic features and the reinstatement of other historic features.

An application for listed building consent is being studied by the Welsh Government.

The vision for the wedge-shaped grade two listed city centre building includes workspaces for more than 130 people.

The plans have been assisted by the public through the Friends of Place Theatre Group and a dedicated Facebook page and by others through engagement with Welsh historic monuments body Cadw, council officers, the Theatres Trust and the Victorian Society.

On behalf of Swansea Council, GWP Architecture is leading the Palace project.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: "We're preserving this landmark building and are pleased that planning permission has been granted.

"The sense of the theatre is to be retained wherever possible, with the opportunity for workspaces overlooking the original auditorium.

"Our plan will help transform the High Street area - already benefiting from many millions of private investment - and will help our £1bn regeneration work.

"The city centre is fast becoming a place where people want to live, work and play"

Robert Francis-Davies, the council's cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "The new-look Palace will help us continue our work on redeveloping the High Street area and city centre.

"We want the Palace's renovation to help make it a focal point for small to medium-sized enterprises and start-ups."

The site stands close to Swansea's High Street Station at the heart of the city centre.

The Palace Theatre staged performances by stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Sir Anthony Hopkins. It was last used 14 years ago as a nightclub. The council bought the building from private owners this year.

If listed building consent is granted in the next few months, transformation work would start next year with it opening in 2022. Funding for the project is being sought from the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government, via the Welsh Government's Transforming Towns programme.

The hunt is already on for a lead tenant to run the building - www.bit.ly/PalaceLease.

Recollections of the Palace can be shared with the project's Facebook page - www.facebook.com/PalaceTheatreRedevelopment/.

Image: How the Palace Theatre building looks now.

 

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