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Funding Campaign Gets New Windows for Lyric Theatre in Bridport

A renowned theatre in west Dorset is about to get brighter and cosier as its defective windows are replaced.

The current windows of the Lyric Theatre on Barrack Street in Bridport are either in poor shape or boarded up entirely. Residents and building users have decried it as dark, cold and damp.

Despite a refusal recommendation from conservation officers, the planning committee for West Dorset District Council approved the application for double-glazed replacements.

Last year the Lyric Theatre managers initiated a campaign called #LetThereBeLight, and succeeded in collecting nearly  £14,000 to replace the auditorium’s main windows.

A former chapel originally constructed in 1777, the  Lyric Theatre is a Grade II listed building. Conservation officers recommended that the application be refused, concerned that double-glazed windows would have a negative impact on the character and integrity of the building.

Kate Williams, a senior conservation officer, said that she could not support the application although she had no objection to the principle of the proposal.

Ms. Williams pointed out that the windows were integral to the appearance and character of the theatre, and predicted that the double glazing would have a negative impact.

Structural Defects Insurance

Holly Miller, who had overseen past workshops at the theatre, praised the building but added that it was dark and cold all year round. Heat was evaporating through the windows and the radiators could not distribute warmth effectively.

Arts Development Company representative Rosie Russell said that the theatre was a multi-purpose venue, but it was not healthy to be in at present because it was cold, dark and damp. She said that operations must be as efficient as possible, and in her opinion double-glazed windows were the answer.

Fifty letters supporting the application were sent to West Dorset District Council.

Meeting chairman Cllr Fred Horsington stated that any harm done to the listed building were outweighed by the benefits to the public.

Users, volunteers, and workers from the Lyric Theatre attended the meeting to voice their support for the application.

Cllr Dave Rickard said that he was a longtime supporter of modern solutions being applied to listed buildings. In his opinion, double-glazed windows would reduce the carbon footprint, save energy costs, and even improve sound insulation, which was a bonus for a theatre.

Members of the planning committee for Bridport Town Council greeted the decision with enthusiasm at a recent meeting, calling it a landmark step that could have a positive effect on other buildings in the future.



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