Leeds theatre revamp plan will cost £785,000

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A MULTI-million pound plan to refurbish Leeds’s flagship theatre has already cost £785,000 in planning fees, papers seen by The Yorkshire Post reveal.

And the costs to develop a fully fledged plan for the £14m West Yorkshire Playhouse refurbishment project could rise even further before a single brick is laid.

As previously reported, the Playhouse - which is owned by Leeds City Council but independently run - has won the first stage of its application for a £6.6 million Arts Council England (ACE) grant for the major redevelopment project.

However a vital second stage application to the arts council for the bulk of the funding - with fuller details and a watertight case - must be developed before the grant is properly signed off. The council has already pledged to contribute £4.9m towards the overall project costs, and a fundraising campaign will be launched to fill any shortfall.

A new briefing report from council officers confirms that £374,000 of ‘Agreed Development Plan’ capital funding has been released. It adds that ”the estimated [total] cost of £785,134 to develop the scheme proposals” may not be enough to fund “all the costs associated”.

The money earmarked so far is made up of a £300,000 ‘development grant’ from Arts Council England, £333,000 from the council, and the rest will come from the Playhouse direct.

The report acknowledges that “there is a risk the council’s Stage 2 application to ACE will be unsuccessful” and this would mean that “the design costs incurred by the council and the Playhouse would be abortive”.