Belfast Telegraph

College to provide new town theatre?

By Jonathan Kennedy

The Community Telegraph has learned that South Eastern Regional College has received planning permission for a 400-seat theatre at its campus in Bangor.

Ken Sharp, president of Bangor Chamber of Commerce said: "I'd absolutely support that plan. The college have art and drama departments that are really strong and that could use the space, as well as the community. Four hundred seats is also a good number for conferences".

The news comes after speculation that local groups were proposing a theatre space at the vacant courthouse on Quay Street.

Mr Sharp said: "People think that the courthouse is a really big space, and it isn't," adding it could be better used as an arts and crafts workspace.

A spokesperson for the college could not confirm the development at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service has confirmed that pub chain Wetherspoons has not approached them regarding the future of the building, which dates from 1866 and is considered a landmark building close to the seafront.

Political representatives have been anxious that the building, which is listed, does not become attractive to vandals following its closure at the end of March.

A spokesperson from the Courts Service said: "We have had meetings with representatives who have an interest in acquiring the courthouse to use as a theatre.

"A marketing strategy is being developed in line with guidelines on the disposal of surplus public sector property."

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