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'Exciting news' for Fountain area as plans given the go-ahead for new arts centre

New Gate Arts and Culture Centre will be built at junction of Hawkin Street and Kennedy Place

'Exciting news' for Fountain area as plans given the go-ahead for new arts centre

How the new arts centre will look.

Derry City and Strabane District Council's Planning Committee have approved ambitious plans for a new arts and culture centre in the Fountain area of the city.

The application by the North West Cultural Partnership is for the extension and reconfiguration of the existing New Gate Arts and Culture Centre building at Hawkin Street and the vacant site to the immediate South West of Kennedy Place.

The centre will include a performance and multi-use space, art and tuition rooms, a dance studio, offices, café and ancillary spaces and associated site works.

Chair of Council's Planning Committee Councillor Chris Jackson welcomed the approval.

"This is exciting news for residents of the Fountain and the wider area with new that the plans for this state of the art performance and cultural facility can now become a reality," he said.

"The New Gate Arts and Culture Centre has played a hugely positive role in the local community through the provision of services and activities as well as improving the physical environment of the Fountain area.

"The approval of this application represents the culmination of an extensive community consultation during the development of the Urban Villages Strategic Framework for Derry-Londonderry in 2016 and the preparation of the Fountain Area Strategic Overview in 2018."

Key project objectives for the proposal, as set out in the Design and Access Statement, submitted in support of the application include the delivery of accredited training programmes including music master classes, numeracy, literacy and tour guide training.

Other objectives include a parenting programme 'Dads and Lads', in partnership with local schools and an annual conference, 'Employment Links' with young community members and a range of employers.

The facility will also host networking events with key agencies including the Parades Commission, Arts Council, Irish arts groups, journalists and local councils and community festivals that promote shared heritage and offer an alternative to bonfires.

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