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Norwich music venue where Nirvana and Oasis played to get £500k revamp

PUBLISHED: 12:02 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:46 11 July 2019

Norwich Arts Centre has been given permission for a major regeneration project. Pictured: Director Pasco-Q Kevlin PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Norwich Arts Centre has been given permission for a major regeneration project. Pictured: Director Pasco-Q Kevlin PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

A music venue which has hosted the likes of Oasis, Nirvana and Muse has been given the green light for a major revamp.

Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: Adam MaizeyNorwich Arts Centre. Picture: Adam Maizey

Norwich Arts Centre unveiled its refurbishment plans last year, after scooping a pound short of £500,000 of funding from the Arts Council for the project.

The beloved venue, which was named the UK's best small venue by the NME in 2014, applied to Norwich City Council earlier this year for permission to carry out its project.

The proposal has now been awarded planning permission by city council officers, which will see a raft of changes made to the former church on St Benedict's Street.

The project will see several improvements made to the venue, mainly geared at making it easier to access, more fit for the future and an overall more modern site.

Noel Gallagher, who performed at Norwich Arts Centre with Oasis. Pictured at Latitude Festival 2015 by Paul BayfieldNoel Gallagher, who performed at Norwich Arts Centre with Oasis. Pictured at Latitude Festival 2015 by Paul Bayfield

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It includes refurbishment of the venue's toilets, new lighting rigs and sound systems and a new bar area in the mission hall part of the building.

Accessibility works will see the addition of push pad operated doors, improvements to wheelchair access of both concert-goers and performers and the introduction of hearing loops.

Bradley Glasspoole, general manager of the NAC, said: "It is excellent news for us to have the planning permission approved and we look forward to now putting in interesting investments in the venue and the building to make it the best it can possibly be."

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana performing at Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: DackKurt Cobain of Nirvana performing at Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: Dack

In his report approving the scheme, case officer Christopher Brownhill, wrote: "The proposal would result in a more accessible building, along with greater emphasis on a sensitive approach to equality and diversity.

"The applicants (NAC) have demonstrated an advanced awareness of the special architectural and historic interest of the building and have attempted to focus the more invasive works on areas of the building of less significance."

The revamp will see the venue out of action from Monday, July 15 until the beginning of September for the first phase of the project, with it also closing between July and September of 2020 for the second phase.

Meanwhile, a fundraising campaign to support the scheme is more than a third of the way to its target of raising £40,000 to mark the venue's 40th anniversary.

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