A NEW £6million home for art and film in Plymouth has come a step closer.

Plymouth Arts Centre hopes to move from its present Barbican base to a new city centre building as part of the Civic Centre redevelopment.

The £50million scheme by Argyle boss James Brent will transform Plymouth City Council’s HQ into an upmarket hotel with a dramatic rooftop restaurant.

The plans include a new arts centre facing Royal Parade, on what is now a car park, between the Civic Centre and the Theatre Royal.

Now Plymouth Arts Centre has submitted a bid to Arts Council England for £1.5 million.

The arts centre said it would create a “vibrant cultural quarter, offering international contemporary art, mainstream and independent film, large and mid-scale theatre, outdoor festival performance, spoken word, food and more”.

Kate Sparshatt, executive director, said: “A new Plymouth Arts Centre within a cultural quarter will drive forward Plymouth’s ambition to be the UK’s premier marine city and contribute to Plymouth being a stimulating place to live and work as well as a must-see destination for visitors.”

Plans for the new centre include two large art galleries, enabling Plymouth to stage national and international exhibitions which currently cannot be housed under one roof in Plymouth, a two-screen cinema, community and schools art workshops, professional development provision for artists and space for hospitality, and retail.

A feasibility study carried out for Plymouth Arts Centre demonstrates that visitor numbers will increase from 38,000 to 120,000, with an estimated 16 jobs safeguarded, six new created plus opportunities for apprenticeships.

There will be business innovation support for more than 40 self-employed and micro enterprises a year.

The current Plymouth Arts Centre in Looe Street on the Barbican has limited space for large-scale art exhibitions and the small 60-seat cinema and restaurant are often full to capacity.

Plymouth Arts Centre, working with Mr Brent’s Akkeron Group, will make further applications for funding to EU funds and trusts and foundations.

Support will also be sought from local businesses and the public. A decision from the Arts Council on the first bid is expected in July 2014 next year.

Source: www.plymouthherald.co.uk