Makeover for 50-year-old theatre will be huge cash boost for city’s economy

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THE redevelopment of a theatre is set to boost the local economy by £45m, councillors say.

Chichester District Council has agreed to support Chichester Festival Theatre in its bid to unlock £20m of funding to redevelop its 50 year old Grade II Listed building.

The council will spend £500,000 while West Sussex County Council will put in £1.5m.

The project is being supported through capital reserves, which can only be spent on enhancing or creating buildings and facilities, and not on the day-to-day running costs of local services.

Now council funding has been agreed the theatre can apply for a grant from the Arts Council England (ACE).

Without this contribution, the application to ACE would not be considered.

Councillor Myles Cullen, deputy leader of Chichester District Council, said: ‘Not only will this directly and indirectly support around 350 local full-time equivalent jobs, but it will help to maintain the theatre’s position as a leading international venue.

‘We believe that this project will have a lasting economic impact.

‘The theatre is already a key part of local tourism attracting £12.5m to the local economy in 2009/10.

‘This project will help us to build on this success and encourage even more people to visit our beautiful district.’

Key parts of the building are no longer fit for purpose.

The one-off capital investment will provide a building that should last for the next 50 years with additional seating capacity.