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You are here: Home / Latest News

Press Release

30 November 2023

Council challenges unauthorised theatre development

Fareham Borough Council has issued a Planning Enforcement Notice against Titchfield Festival Theatre after a new, 450-seat theatre had been built, without planning permission, behind the existing theatre.

Concerns were raised with the Council earlier this year about a lack of parking provision at a new theatre under construction at the rear of the existing Titchfield Festival Theatre venue on St Margaret’s Lane.  The site has approximately 35 on-site parking spaces.

Officers visited the site and met with representatives of the theatre company who explained that work was underway to create a new 450-seat theatre.  Officers were shown around the development which includes a newly excavated underground orchestra pit beneath the stage and a complex of backstage changing rooms and rehearsal areas.  The new theatre has been created in a space which had previously been granted planning permission for use as storage. 

Council officers warned the company that, without planning permission being obtained, the new venue was at risk of enforcement action being taken.  Despite this warning, various public performances have taken place with shows being advertised on the theatre company website throughout December and well into 2024.

In 2019, Titchfield Festival Theatre Limited applied for planning permission for a 567-seat theatre at this location which is behind their existing smaller theatre premises.  The application was refused by the Council as the site is in an unsustainable and poorly accessible location outside the urban area, has inadequate levels of parking spaces provided, and the new theatre would lead to a significant increase in noise affecting neighbours. 

A second application submitted later in 2019 was also refused planning permission. 

No planning permission has been granted to date for a new theatre.

Cllr Nick Walker, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “Titchfield Festival Theatre has left the Council with no option but to pursue this formal planning enforcement action.  It beggars belief that anyone would build a new 450-seat theatre without first securing planning permission.”

The Enforcement Notice requires the theatre use to cease by 29 February 2024 unless an appeal is lodged.  Titchfield Festival Theatre Limited has the right to appeal to the Secretary of State by 29 December 2023.


ENDS


Notes to Editor:

The Titchfield Festival Theatre has issued a newsletter about the enforcement notice which contains a number of inaccuracies.  Read the Council's response.

For further information contact:

Customer Enquiries

Tel: 01329 236100
Email: customerservicecentre@fareham.gov.uk

Media Enquiries

The Communications Team
Tel: 01329 824310
Email: publicity@fareham.gov.uk
Fax: 01329 550576

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