Chester’s New Cultural Centre to receive £3m Arts Council Boost!

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northgateRE:NEW is thrilled to confirm that the partnership bid between Cheshire West and Cheshire Council and Chester Performs, for a £3m capital funding grant from Arts Council England, has been successful!

This is a huge boost for the project, which represents the most significant capital investment in Chester for decades and could generate as much as £16.9m annually. As many as 250 people will be employed on-site at any one time, with 1500 throughout the contract period.

Over at the Arts Council England website, the award is described:

“The Culture Centre and Library for Chester will be an important new building that will be a home for local artists but also provide a springboard for the creative ambitions of people across the county and beyond. Led by Cheshire West & Chester Council, it will provide a new home for regional arts producer Chester Performs and feature an innovative and convertible theatre for all artforms, along with a seamlessly integrated library and cinema.”

This fantastic news coincides with word that the detailed planning application for the project will go before the local authority’s Strategic Planning Committee in October, as well as confirmation from the Arts Council that they are maintaining Chester Performs’ National Portfolio Organisation status for the next three years.

Andrew Bentley, Chester Performs’ Chief Executive, has said of the announcement:

 “We have been working incredibly hard with our local authority, for a very long time, to make this work, and work well – so the success of our partnership bid to Arts Council England is a major milestone for all of us and the city of Chester. 

“The new building places at its heart the relationship between an innovative public library and a dynamic performing arts centre.  Together we’ve designed a building and way of working, which we think could change how original theatre, in particular, of the highest standard can be made as part of a busy, mixed-economy arts centre. We believe we have something artist-led, audience-focused and financially viable, which Chester will be rightly proud to call its own.

“We will continue to produce site-specific projects such as Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, whilst the new building will be the epicentre of an explosion of new art. It is truly an inspirational project and we are very proud to be at its heart.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member, Culture and Economy for Cheshire West & Chester Council, said:

“This is terrific news; a massive leap forward and a wonderful endorsement of the financial and artistic qualities of our bid.

“From discussions with the Arts Council, some of the key features of our successful application were the strength of the business model and the balance of the artistic and cultural programme. All party support and high level of investment from Cheshire west and Chester were also seen as important factors. We should also thank the Odeon Action group who have worked tirelessly to ensure the future of the Odeon and have supported this project”

Work on the building is scheduled to start in February 2015, with the new centre due to open in Autumn 2016.

You can see the plans for the building here and find out more about special exhibitions on the project which will be touring Cheshire’s libraries here.

For more information about Chester Performs and their involvement, click here.

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