A NEW arts and entertainment center has been approved for the Sherborne House.
The move has been described as ‘brilliant news’ for the city’s economy, also saving the crumbling building.
The Dorset Council area planning committee unanimously approved the request in an online meeting (Tuesday).
It will repair and expand the listed first level building in Newland to provide
exhibitions and event spaces, use of offices and restaurant / cafe / bar spaces.
The request was favorably received by Councilors Sherborne Matt Hall and Jon Andrews.
“I want to thank everyone involved. It is high time that this building was redeveloped and reused … I can only say that this is great for the city, the economy will benefit and the city traffic will increase, ”said Cllr Andrews.
Cllr Hall said he would like to encourage the center to ask visitors to use the main parking lot in Culverhayes to avoid traffic jams, rather than small parking lots nearby. The two advisers requested to be involved in the Sherborne House Trust project as the project progressed.
Cllr Les Fry, Dorchester Planning Committee member, said: “This sounds like an exciting project for Sherborne and the whole region. If it goes ahead, it will attract people from a wide area. ”
He and Weymouth adviser Brian Heatley have both called for renewable energy systems to be included in the project as work progresses, although Dorset Council does not have the power. legal to require it without changes in legislation.
The building, which dates from the 1720s, is on England’s Historic Hazardous Buildings Register and was last used as a girls’ school in 1992 after it was purchased by the former Dorset County Council in the 1930s.
Councilors were told that allowing the conversion and new additions would bring “significant public benefit” and regenerate an underutilized site, protecting the main building and associated shed for the future.
A remarkable extension is offered at the rear of the site with a distinctive copper roof, providing multi-use space. “Living” green roofs are also planned on certain extensions.
The Tudor wing of the house is expected to provide a new county headquarters for the visual arts in Dorset by giving them office space, artists’ room and sales space.
The outdoor space will include the creation of a courtyard and a grassy amphitheater that could be used for performances or for picnics.
A report to the regional committee indicated that the building suffered from a lack of investment and needed extensive repairs.
After the school closed, an Arts Trust was established in the mid-1990s, but failed to raise enough funds to create a viable center.
The entire site was sold to a developer and 44 houses were built behind the house. The rest of the site was then purchased by the Sherborne House Trust.
A large contemporary extension is offered on the north side of the house to create a courtyard at the rear of the Tudor Wing, providing more exhibition and event space. The Tudor and Digby wings to the west will house a bistro, a café, storage, a kitchen and a technical room. A new front entrance canopy is also proposed connecting the Tudor wing to the main house.
Sherborne City Council welcomed the plans, but asked for more details on traffic management around the site, parking spaces, trees and sewage capacity. He would also like to see some restrictions on late night use to protect nearby residents, although this should be addressed at the licensing stage.