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Southampton's New Art Complex given the planning go-ahead

  • Date: 3 October 2011
  • Area: National, South East

Planning permission has been granted for a new arts complex in Southampton.

The 100,000 sq ft arts complex will create more than 300 direct jobs with work due to start on site next summer.

The project was last year granted £7.2 million in Arts Council funding. The funding will specifically go towards a new gallery space for the John Hansard Gallery, a medium- scale auditorium, a range of spaces to create and incubate local artists and community projects, a dance studio and flexible rooms and offices. Southampton City Council will also support the development of media suites for City Eye, a community based film making resource.

Southampton City Council has also been offered £349,302 in Arts Council England National portfolio funding from 2012-2015 to deliver an overarching arts vision for the new complex and to recruit an arts champion to lead on the vision; business planning and governance.

Plans were developed by Grosvenor who signed a formal agreement with Southampton City Council in 2010 to take the project forward. They have since been working in partnership with them to develop a detailed proposal for the scheme, which will be arranged around the newly landscaped Guildhall Square.

The design incorporates a striking glazed façade, a pedestrianised link to the historic East Park, and soaring stepped upper floors.

The new arts complex will be part of a wider Cultural Quarter currently in development in the centre of Southampton. The Cultural Quarter incorporates the Mayflower Theatre, the BBC South and BBC Solent Studios, Sea City Museum, Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton Central Library, the Guildhall music venue, Southampton Solent University, office and restaurant space and finally the Guildhall square which will be used for outdoor events.

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England, said,'We have a commitment to focusing resources in Southampton. To hear that planning permission has gone through for the new arts complex is great news. We believe the new arts complex will be at the heart of the city's emerging cultural quarter and will be a fantastic addition to the cultural offer already available in Southampton.'

Councillor Royston Smith, Leader of Southampton City Council, said:
'Planning approval marks a significant step in this important build for the city. It will be a place in the Cultural Quarter where all the arts can thrive and will draw in hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Despite the current financial climate, we continue to attract investment and create vital new jobs for our residents.'

Alex Robinson, development manager, Grosvenor, commented: 'Grosvenor has worked closely with Southampton City Council over the past few months to ensure that we submitted a proposal that combined outstanding design and exceptional leisure facilities. We are very pleased that this scheme has been approved at committee and are excited to be moving forward with our lettings campaign.'

The arts complex is expected to be finished and ready to be launched in 2015.

Grosvenor has worked with architects CZWG to ensure that the scheme becomes established as the city's flagship Cultural Quarter development.

For more information please go to the Southampton City Council website.