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Plans submitted to bring new life to historic treasure

PLANS have been submitted for the restoration and conversion of Swansea’s historic Palace Theatre building.

They would see the 132-year-old six-storey structure become home to tech, start-up and creative businesses.

Works include the reinstatement and restoration of the auditorium balustrading. A section of tiered seating would be retained to form social seating and presentation space, with the ability to accommodate small scale events.

The interior retains the existing floors that look down towards a stage – as theatre audiences once would have done.

The application for planning permission and listed building consent – just submitted to Swansea planners – show the building’s structure maintained with the retention and restoration of original historic features and the reinstatement of other historic features.

How the Palace Theatre building could look in the future.

The vision for the wedge-shaped grade two listed city centre building includes workspaces for more than 130 people.

The plans have been assisted by the public through the Friends of Place Theatre Group and a dedicated Facebook page and by others through engagement with Welsh historic monuments body Cadw, council officers, the Theatres Trust and the Victorian Society.

On behalf of Swansea Council, GWP Architecture is leading the Palace project.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: “We’re preserving this landmark building and now have submitted our planning application.

“The sense of the theatre is to be retained wherever possible, with the opportunity for workspaces overlooking the original auditorium.

“Our plan will help transform the High Street area – already benefiting from many millions of private investment – and will help our £1bn regeneration work.

“The city centre is fast becoming a place where people want to live, work and play”

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “The new-look Palace will help us continue our work on redeveloping the High Street area and city centre.

“We want the Palace’s renovation to help make it a focal point for small to medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.”

The site stands close to Swansea’s High Street Station at the heart of the city centre.

The Palace Theatre staged performances by stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Sir Anthony Hopkins. It was last used 14 years ago as a nightclub. The council bought the building from private owners this year.

If planning permission is granted, transformation work could start next year with it opening in 2022.

The hunt is already on for a lead tenant to run the building – www.bit.ly/PalaceLease.

Recollections of the Palace can be shared with the project’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/PalaceTheatreRedevelopment/.

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