PLANS are being submitted to upgrade the facilities at Shanklin Performing Arts Centre to include a bar, museum, and heritage space.

When Shanklin Library was relocated from Victoria Avenue to Falcon Cross, the property was initially leased and subsequently purchased by the Shanklin Theatre and Community Trust to be used as a Performing Arts Centre.

The project has been such success that demand to use the facility now far outstrips the time slots available.

Various user groups use the centre; the likes of keep fit classes, Pilates, ballet, burlesque, dance, and theatre groups, but the building is in a poor state of repair and requires substantial upgrades.

Isle of Wight County Press: Theatre trustees Chris Quirk and Michael Beston with Cllr Joe Robertson.Theatre trustees Chris Quirk and Michael Beston with Cllr Joe Robertson. (Image: Shanklin Theatre and Community Trust)

The trust intends to submit a planning application to upgrade the facilities to include multi-purpose studios, a performing space with retractable seating, coffee shop/bar area, and a museum and heritage space to present and display the history of Shanklin.

The plans for the new facility include three dance and practice studios, storerooms, kitchen, and toilets on the lower floor.

The ground floor will comprise of a performance stage and auditorium with a retractable seating system to accommodate 106 people, dressing room, toilets, bar, and a level floor foyer entrance which can be accessed from Victoria Avenue.

Isle of Wight County Press: The proposed plans for the centre.The proposed plans for the centre. (Image: Shanklin Theatre and Community Trust)

Two areas on the upper floor will accommodate large spaces for museum and heritage centres.

The new building will also benefit from solar roof panels, generating electricity to power internal battery storage units, and a rain harvesting system to assist in the reduction of untreated storm water release into the sea.

A local resident consultation and open day was held at the centre on September 22, displaying the trust’s proposed plans.

They have now gone through the pre-planning application process with IW Council planning officers.

The trust is also hosting an exhibition on Sunday, November 19, from 1pm to 6pm, where visitors can find out more about the proposal and tuck into refreshments.