PLANS to convert an ‘eyesore’ 180-seat theatre at Barnsley College into a centre to train the town’s young medics have been approved by the council’s planning board.
Am application was submitted on February 23 and residents had until March 28 to have their say through public consultation.
The existing Barnsley College Electric Theatre, situated on Falcon Street, is currently used as a combined theatre and teaching space for performing arts courses.
The site also boasts a 180-seat theatre which is open to to the public for external performances.
A planning statement said: “The building itself, particularly from the outside, is not attractive and has a negative impact on the surrounding area.
“It looks particularly poor in contrast to new contemporary and refurbished college buildings alongside it.
“The existing building is currently used as a combined theatre and teaching space for Barnsley College performing arts courses - this includes teaching spaces, drama studios and a dedicated 180-seat theatre with specialist infrastructure.
“The theatre hosts curriculum based performances by students as well as a variety of external performances open to the public. “It is intended that performing arts courses are to be moved into existing college accommodation at their Church Street campus in order to allow new dedicated facilities for medical courses.”
The former examination hall is in the vicinity of two modern buildings - the college’s Old Mill Lane and Church Street sites.
“There is an opportunity to relocate performing arts courses elsewhere within college buildings and in doing so free up the space for a new dedicated medical centre for the teaching of medical based courses,” added the statement.
“This also serves to make better use of under-utilised buildings elsewhere.”
Now plans have been approved by the council’s planning board, the medical centre for the town’s up-and-coming medics will include a variety of stations to help training.
The proposals include alterations to make mock wards, dentistry spaces, laboratories, teaching spaces and ancillary accommodation for the training of young adults in various medical fields.
“The proposed change of use of the existing college building from a performing arts centre to a medical centre serves as an opportunity to ultimately improve the general aesthetics of the building,” the report added.
“The existing building is relatively unassuming, tired in appearance and has more in common with a industrial unit than a contemporary college building.
“This proposals include internal alterations to form new mock wards, dentistry spaces, laboratories, teaching spaces and
ancillary accommodation for the training of young adults in various medical fields.”
Plans were officially given the green light earlier this month and work must now begin within three years.