New dedicated musical theatre could be created on Kent coast as plans submitted

The site on Arkley Road is owned by Herne Bay Musical Theatre as a charitable trust
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

Newly submitted plans would see a new dedicated musical theatre open in Herne Bay. Proposals put forward to Canterbury City Council outline the conversion of the existing community hall on Arkley Road into a theatre to better accommodate the Herne Bay Musical Theatre Society.

The site itself is owned by the theatre society as a charitable trust, with the group currently using it as a rehearsal space. It is also hired out for a range of community functions, from yoga and ballet classes to baby and toddler groups.

The Herne Bay Musical Theatre Society performs shows in the surrounding area, but due to the rising costs and expenses of hiring out large theatres to put on these productions, the society now hopes to use the site on Arkley Road for performances. Under the current restrictions of the site, the hall can only be used as a rehearsal space.

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Therefore, permission is being sought for the space to be recognised as a musical theatre so that it can host such productions. The hall features its own on-site car park, with the plans reassuring this means that the change of use will not disrupt the surrounding residential parking.

A representative for Herne Bay Musical Theatre said in the proposals: “Since taking over, this committee has worked hard with the local residents to make sure they are informed of what is going on and in fact some have actually been along to some of our shows. It is important to stress that we are extremely community minded, are keen to bring affordable entertainment to the area when venues are closing and prices are rising.”

A youth theatre group also operates from the venue, providing the opportunity for children up to the age of 15 to explore and get involved in the arts. The organisation expressed that hosting events and hiring out the space are crucial steps in generating the funds needed to maintain the building itself and allowing the group to operate as a charity and society.

Summing up, the representative for the society said: “Without these the society and therefore building would be untenable. We therefore request a change of use to enable these functions to take place.”

As this application is for a change of use, no major alterations to the physicality of the building and surrounding site have been outlined. The application is currently awaiting a decision from the council and can be read in full on the Canterbury City Council planning portal with reference CA/24/00813.

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