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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE: Build it and more will come!

A group of artists have asked planners for permission to boost the appeal of their shared space by making key changes to an historic Victorian building in the centre of Stroud.

Stroud Valleys Artspace Ltd (SAV) want to improve access to the group's Brunel Goods Shed Venue, close to the town's railway station, by adding a new stairs and steel ramp for visitors, as well as building fully accessible new toilets and freeing up more social space.

Already a popular venue for exhibitions, installations, music performance and sessions, the venue also runs open-mic evenings and has a 7,000 sq. ft town-centre warehouse in nearby John Street which provides an event and café space, a street-facing gallery and studio spaces for 26 artists.

The Brunel Goods Shed initiative is being overseen by Jo Leahy, Co-Director or SVA and follows on from a 2014 fundraiser to make an initial capital investment of £2.1m, subsequent cash being used for the refurbishment of the building.

If Stroud District Council backs the new work on the Listed Grade II building which was built in 1845, SAV believes the appeal of the venue, which was rescued from likely demolition in the 1970s by the Stroud Preservation Trust, would enhance the venue's value as a magnet for the town's arts and social community.

Ms Leahy told planners: "The current stepped only access excludes wheelchair users and those with severe mobility impairments."

She added: "These toilet facilities and mezzanine are designed as a free-standing structure within the space with minimal mechanical fixings to the existing stone walls and wherever possible no fixings to the timber structure of the roof."

Existing toilet fixtures in an annexe would also be modernised, and a revised entrance would see the current bar and kitchen fixtures being relocated, "none of which are part of the original heritage structure, and all of which are easily relocated or removed," planners were also told.

New glazing would also be introduced and designed in such a way as "to limit the fewest possible fixtures to the existing stonework, whilst keeping the current roller shutters which maintain the industrial fuel to [the] building and providing additional security."

A spokesperson for SVA told Punchline: "Pending the decision, we will be looking at progressing the work once SVA meets in September."

Punchline says: Yet more good news for Stroud. After our report yesterday  on progress for the adjacent The Stroud hotel, the SVA project here complements the work S2 Estates are doing rather nicely. It's inspiring to see how determination and a clear vision can make a tangible difference to boosting the life of our market towns. We wish SVA every success with this attractive scheme!

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