Work has started at South Street Arts Centre to add a bar extension on the east of the building and carry out other internal improvement works.
Internal changes will include changing rooms for performers and a more accessible ground floor layout. Some windows will be bricked up to reduce noise nuisance to neighbours.
The planning applications committee approved planning application 160495 on 27 April this year. This application had two conditions added to it; external seating could only be used between 8am and 9pm, and a light source had to be modified to avoid glare that would distract traffic and be a nuisance to neighbours.
Budget cuts threatened the South Street Arts Centre with closure this year. This caused considerable opposition and an 8,000 signature petition from people supporting local arts in Reading .
The Arts Council granted £499,999 to enable the improvement and modernisation work to take place. The grant was part of £2.3million to organisations in the south-east, and this is what the Arts Council had to say:
South Street Arts Centre will upgrade, refurbish and reconfigure the venue to resolve ongoing maintenance issues, increase the venue’s efficiency and enhance facilities for both artists and audiences for the future. The work will also enable South Street to better meet demand for hires, supporting increased income.
The venue is expected to re-open in November 2016.