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Craven District Council awarded £250,000 from Arts Council England to transform Skipton Town Hall

Arts Council England has granted Craven District Council £250,000 to create a high quality multi-use and theatre space at Skipton Town Hall.

The council, which owns and manages the building, plans to develop the venue to create a cultural hub for the district.

Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council's lead member for Enterprising Craven, said: "It is fantastic news that the Arts Council has granted us this funding, which will allow us to realise our ambitions for this historic building. 

"We have exciting plans for the future and this work will be instrumental in fulfilling those plans - with proposals including new lighting and sound systems, digital projection broadcasting equipment, black-outs and secondary glazed windows, we will be able to vastly improve the quality of our arts programming."

Michelle Dickson, Director North, Arts Council England said, "I'm pleased that we have been able to help fund the refurbishment of Skipton Town Hall's Concert Hall.

"The development will help it realise its ambitious plans to develop the venue into a cultural hub benefiting both performers and audiences, serving the surrounding rural population both at the Hall and through the digital streaming of performances. The award will also help the Town Hall ensure its ongoing resilience."

Last year the council commissioned a feasibility study for the restoration of the Concert Hall to improve the range and quality of the venue and its programme.

The study recommended the following improvements: replacing the lighting system and sound system; moving the control box so that it faces the stage; installing infra-red assisted listening system for the hearing impaired; purchasing digital projection broadcasting equipment, new seating, and a removable vinyl dance floor; commissioning an acoustic study; installing black-outs; and installing secondary glaze windows to reduce energy consumption and for noise control.

The council will now draw up plans for the work to take place throughout 2016 and 2017, enabling the venue to deliver its new arts programme.