A PLANNING application has been submitted to Somerset Council by Bridgwater Town Council with plans to upgrade one of the town's most historic buildings.

The town council hope to improve access and make internal alterations to Bridgwater Arts Centre (11-13 Castle Street).

There are also plans to make alterations to the building's roof, as well as building an entirely new 25 square metre chair and theatre storage area at the back of the Arts Centre.

If plans are approved, access to the building would be improved with new handrails up the steps of the building's main entrance, and the glass door replaced with glazed, automatic double-doors.

At the building's secondary entrance, an aluminium ramp currently sits over two steps in order to provide wheelchair access.

Bridgwater Town Council hope to remove these two steps and have the original entrance door leaf extended down to the lowered floor level in order to negate the need for a ramp, which was judged to be "unacceptable" because of the Grade I listed status of the centre and Castle Street.

The new accessible door will be operated by a button when exiting the building, and by a receptionist for those entering.

An internal ramp would then be installed inside the passage.

As well as receiving the new storage area, the theatre itself would benefit from new acoustic ceilings, acoustic doors, and fire doors.

On the first floor of the building, it is proposed that a studio, meeting rooms, and office spaces will be installed.

The staff kitchenette on this floor would also be enlarged, as well as a new unisex bathroom being installed.

Existing unused rooms on the second floor of the no.11 building would be renovated to provide office accommodation< and the staff kitchen reconfigured with toilets reinstated.

The basement area would be renovated to create improved dressing rooms and storage areas.

Other alterations to the building's interior include improved accessibility between the function spaces, as well as upgrading fire enclosures and doors.

The application can be viewed by searching the application number 08/23/00333 on the Somerset Council website. Comments are welcomed until December 19, and planning permission could be granted as early as December 20.