We have at last received planning permission for the revival of the Theatre to be used as a theatre.

We were bombarded by congratulatory text messages, whatsapps etc. last week as news spread. Now we are feeling some mild pressure to deliver!

For those unaware of the history of this building, the theatre (previously known as the assembly hall) was for c.100 years a significant social venue in Framlingham. David Bowie played here, tea dances and fundraising balls were held here. Tractors were launched here. Many of the town’s older residents had their first kiss on a Saturday night here. After over 20 years slumbering as an antiques shop, a rather dull looking piece of paper now gives our building a licence to wake up again. It will still be an exhibition space, as it has been sporadically and successfully in the last two years – but now we can achieve more with it. Our Ukraine fundraising concert last year gave an inkling of its other potential.

Thank you to the many who wrote in support of the planning application in September 2021, including our closest neighbours. A few near and nearish neighbours objected, some even commissioning consultants in an attempt to stop it; they may be unlikely to celebrate this Planning Permission, but hopefully they will soften. We have tried to explain our intention to be good neighbours, and that remains the case.

Of course every now and then the occasional whoop of joy may be heard, but we will take reasonable measures to keep the peace – and we have already drafted a Noise Management Plan with that in mind. But we also need our neighbours to be reasonable in acknowledging that a town centre location will never achieve the levels of quietude as might be expected in a country churchyard.

SO TO THE FUTURE: our plan is to set up an arts trust as a vehicle for moving this forward, and we are beginning to get that going. We will then need to raise money to make things happen: a downside of 2 years delay is that the costs of building and borrowing are rather higher than they were in 2021. But let’s not dwell on all that!

None of this will be quick but at least we now have permission to proceed.

Thanks for your patience.

Mark & Ted