Titchfield theatre group beats council on an appeal

Members of Titchfield Festival Theatre rehearsing in their now home, Tithe Barn.

Members of Titchfield Festival Theatre rehearsing in their now home, Tithe Barn.

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MEMBERS of a theatre group are celebrating after overturning a council’s ruling on appeal.

An independent inspector has quashed a planning condition which members of Titchfield Festival Theatre says was preventing them from being able to plan properly for the future.

Last March, Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee granted the group temporary planning permission to use a former warehouse in St Margaret’s Lane.

The committee wanted to monitor traffic, parking arrangements and noise around the site for a year and bring the group back for another hearing.

But the TFT appealed the condition on the grounds that it had already been monitored by the council for 15 months before the first hearing – and no problems had emerged.

Kevin Fraser, the group chairman, said: ‘We’re over the moon. This vindicates what we thought in the first place and that it never really should have gone this far.

‘Now we can get on do what we wanted to do all along, which is provide quality entertainment for the people of Titchfield and around here.

‘Now we can apply to The Lottery and the Arts Council and to other trust funds, whereas before, it was very difficult to do that without tenure.

‘I think the report from the inspector was fairly damning.

‘This only happened because of one councillor who talked the others into it, despite some very strong support from others on the committee.’

The original vote in favour of granting a temporary permission had been by six votes to three. The council officer’s report had recommended approving the plans without the condition.

The group told the appeal hearing how members had kept a detailed log of decibel readings, has 35 allocated parking spaces next to the building and permission from nearby Holiday Inn for its car park to be used as overflow parking.

TFT’s next performance will be JB Priestley’s comedy Laburnum Grove from March 13 to 23. For more details go to titchfieldfestivaltheatre.com

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