Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten evidence from the Kings Theatre Trust Ltd

The Kings Theatre Trust welcomes the opportunity to comment on the National Planning Policy Framework, about which we have been alerted by The Theatres Trust. We strongly endorse the response that has been sent you by The Theatres Trust at the reference, and urge you to ensure that there is proper and robust consideration of culture, the arts and theatres in the proposed framework, as outlined in their comprehensive and coherent response. Further comments are as follows:

The Kings Theatre is in the City of Portsmouth, and provides a busy regional theatre for South Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight. Rescued from closure 10 years ago after a vocal and active campaign by the local community, it is now owned by Portsmouth City Council and leased to the Kings Theatre Trust.

The theatre is now providing a wide ranging and high quality programme of shows, events, education and heritage activities, plus a large community programme of volunteer involvement.

Over £2 million has been invested in the fabric and facilities of the building to date. Further improvements and restoration work to the building, and future growth in the show programme will see the theatre expand its activities over the next five years, to fully re-establish it as the City’s largest theatre.

The theatre is currently estimated to be providing an inward investment of £1 million each year into the local economy, and once fully restored and operational, this is expected to rise to £3 million each year. It is already clear that the theatre has had a positive and very welcome regeneration effect in its locality, which is recognised by the city.

All this progress in the last 10 years has been underpinned by the current planning guidelines for culture, the arts and theatres, as well as the support and guidance of The City Council and The Theatres Trust. The Select Committee is strongly urged to ensure such guidelines are included in the new framework to ensure theatres like the Kings can continue to provide meaningful cultural, education, heritage and regeneration effects in their areas for the benefit of their communities.

September 2011

Prepared 20th December 2011