Joy for Brighton Open Air Theatre supporters as plans win approval

Posted On 09 Oct 2014 at 10:38 am

Supporters of the Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) were pleased and relieved as their project was given planning permission yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 8 October).

They had been concerned about a series of conditions which threatened the viability of the project.

Brighton Open Air Theatre graphic 1But in a series of votes members of the Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee backed amendments that should enable work to start in the new year.

It holds out the prospect of the outdoor amphitheatre opening in time for the Brighton Festival next May.

James Payne, one of the BOAT trustees, said: “We’re over the moon. We’re delighted that the councillors have supported this project.

“It’s for the benefit of everyone in the city, visitors and artists.

“It’s been a long road but now we’re looking forward to our first night.”

The theatre will be created by landscaping the land currently occupied by a disused bowling green in Dyke Road Park, Hove, close to the café.

The work will include putting up an acoustic wall and creating terracing for audiences. The nearest homes are more than 100 yards away, past the café and on the Brighton side of Dyke Road.

The site is owned by the council and would be operated as a theatre, seating 425 people, from the start of May to the end of September.

Adrian Bunting

Adrian Bunting

The council had wanted the charity to pay £26,250 contribution towards the cost of local transport schemes which could have included the £350,000 Dyke Road cycle lane approved the day before. The Planning Committee dropped this condition.

It had proposed restricting performances to a 9.30pm finish but again councillors voted this down and gave permission for a 10pm end time.

A limit on performances to three a week and 12 a month were also rejected in favour of six shows a week maximum and 22 events a month.

The architects Miller Bourne said in a written submission to the committee: “When it is not in operation, which will be the majority of the time, it will be a pleasant space to sit and relax.”

The project was the brainchild of Brighton playwright, theatre maker and construction manager Adrian Bunting, who died of pancreatic cancer last year aged 47.

Mr Bunting left his £18,000 life savings to the project. The BOAT committee has since raised more money as it looks to turn Mr Bunting’s dream into a lasting legacy.

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