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Working for a regional theatre in Farnham

FTA to appear at Public Inquiry - Waverley Borough Council has issued Compulsory Purchase Orders on land required for the Crest Nicholson Sainsbury's East Street development and a Public Inquiry is to be held in 2013, beginning 15th January and ending 30th January. FTA submitted a strong objection to the CPOs as the CNS plan for their 'Brightwells' development will require the demolition of the Redgrave Theatre without replacement.

FTA is responding to Waverley Borough Council's Statement of Case which had addressed our objection by misrepresenting our aims and objectives. FTA's case is to be represented at the Inquiry along with others by a solicitor, who has been appointed jointly by the Farnham Society, the Farnham Trust and East Street Action. Our theatre consultant Michael Holden and our Chairman, Anne Cooper are prepared to give evidence and act as witnesses at the Inquiry. They intend to make the case that a theatre in the development would benefit trade in the development and Farnham town centre.

Yes to East Street; No to Redgrave

A packed public gallery at Waverley’s Godalming offices on Wednesday, 1st October, 2008 heard the verdict on an East Street scheme that had prompted a deluge of 5,846 objections, balanced by just 30 letters of support. 

WBC Demonstration

Yes to East Street; No to Redgrave

The Redgrave TheatreThe downsized scheme negotiated since Conservatives regained control of Waverley Council – involving 9,814 square metres of retail, restaurant and café bar accommodation, 239 residential units, a 900-seater multi-screen cinema, car parks and a replacement Gostrey Centre – has received the blessing of Waverley’s joint planning committee.

The listed building consent application for demolition of the Redgrave Theatre - a cause of so many of the objections - and the conversion of Brightwell House to two restaurants have likewise been approved.

Anne Cooper, Farnham Theatre Association Chairman says:

"This is an act of cultural vandalism which unfortunately places Waverley in the D stream of boroughs which do not have theatres and can only offer second-best. A very fine purpose-built theatre would give an important focus to draw people to the town, its shops and other attractions - and so, it is not the end of the campaign. We will continue to raise aspirations for a theatre and aim to put Waverley back on the map for cultural excellence."

There is ongoing correspondence with Jeremy Hunt and the Theatres Trust. The FTA is considering the best way forward in the light of the East Street decision.

The loss of the Redgrave looms nearer but there is still a long way to go…..

Waverley would need to acquire by compulsory purchase the old cinema site land, currently owned by F & C and the subject of their own provisional development plans.

CNS need to show that the development, involving retail units and housing will be viable - and that, given the current gloom and retail malaise is very unlikely to be achieved.

So there are a number of distinct and major hurdles that have to be overcome before demolition and new building can begin.

In the meantime the Redgrave remains unloved by the Council - who were entrusted with its upkeep and have specific funds earmarked for that purpose but have left it bereft of any maintenance whatsoever.
We fight on!!!

An Alternative East Street Scheme

This side of East Street is staying

East StreetA new East Street scheme was proposed last year by Lyons + Sleeman + Hoare who developed the popular Lion and Lamb Yard in Farnham proposes a far smaller development based around the former cinema site and retaining much of the existing Farnham architecture. Comprising fewer shops with flats above and bringing back a cinema with theatre, it appears to be more in accord with the demands of campaigners against the Crest Nicholson Sainsbury (CNS) proposals. But until WBC pronounce further on the CNS scheme it remains to be seen how they will view this late arrival.

The scheme is focussed on and around the former cinema site in East Street. While the site owners steadfastly refuse to sell it to CNS, it could be the subject of a compulsory purchase order by the Council as it is integral to the existing CNS scheme.

Your FTA continues urgently to seek more information, however early indications show that the proposed theatre is small with few facilities and space so cannot be considered in any way as an adequate replacement for The Redgrave.

A newly revised East Street scheme from Lyons Sleeman and Hoare is now awaited and FTA continues to seek further information.

Crest Nicholson Sainsbury plans for East Street in limbo

Waverley Borough Council approved the CNS main application for a mixed us development in East Street on 1st. October 2008 and also voted to grant Listed Building Consent for the demolition of the Redgrave. 

Full planning permission was granted to the developers this autumn now that specific legal requirements have been met. This will initially mean demolition of the old Health Centre and two small adjacent dwellings but NOT the Redgrave Theatre or Brightwell House.

Waverley allowed a further 2 years for the financial markets to settle before expecting any new building work to proceed on the site. Waverley have already decided to purchase the CNS plans to be able to offer them to another developer if their contract with CNS should fail. However, with so many obstacles to progress this unpopular scheme, it is questionable whether any other developer would wish to take it on.