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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 10:49 GMT
Dramatic demolition gets approval
Dumfries Theatre Royal
Plans to demolish and replace the theatre have been approved
A revised 7m project to redevelop the historic Theatre Royal in Dumfries has secured planning permission.

Councillors approved the demolition and rebuild proposal, despite some concerns about the futuristic design.

The theatre trust has welcomed the planning approval but now needs to plug a major funding gap.

The financial hole was left after the council - concerned about design changes and escalating costs - withdrew funding support worth more than 2m.

Trust chairman Howard Hann said they now plan to make a bid to the Scottish Executive.

'Withdraw offers'

It will be based on the town's links with Robert Burns ahead of the 2009 homecoming celebrations which will mark the 250th anniversary of the bard's birth.

"Obviously, time is running very short for the Dumfries Theatre Royal Trust to put together the full package of funding," a trust spokesman said.

"We have until the end of February and then both the Scottish Arts Council and the South of Scotland European Partnership will be forced to withdraw their offers."

Artist's impression of new theatre
There are still some reservations about the futuristic design

It is the latest twist in the long-running attempt to revamp or replace the building which is more than 200 years old and has links with Robert Burns and JM Barrie.

Proposals to modernise the building while keeping the original frontage failed to win planning approval.

The trust spent years working up a 5.2m scheme to build a new theatre behind the existing Shakespeare Street facade.

The new plan involves clearing the site and starting from scratch.

One local objector said he felt the plans for the modern building lacked "charm".

"The new building might look very good to some people at the moment but will it look good in 10 or 20 years' time?" said David Booth.

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