A POPULAR theatre will soon get a new lease of life as part of a multi-million-pound regeneration of the town centre.

The Bridgwater town deal will see £23.2m invested in the town centre by March 2026.

The projects range from the delivery of the ‘Celebration Mile’ to the regeneration of the Northgate Docks and upgrading the Dunball roundabout.

One of the 11 projects being taken forward will see Bridgwater Town Hall on High Street significantly upgraded, including its theatre and auditorium space which can hold more than 300 people for events.

Plans for this latest regeneration initiative have now been submitted to Somerset Council, with a decision being anticipated some time in the spring.

The town hall theatre is set within a grade two listed building and provides a focal point for local events, including amateur theatre productions by many local groups.

Under this project, the main auditorium will be completely refurbished with improved seating, dressing rooms and a lift on the eastern side of the building, with redundant offices also being brought back into scale.

Bridgwater Town Council, which is leading the project, has already secured listed building consent for some of the necessary alterations, and is awaiting a decision on separate plans to install solar panels on the roof to provide renewable energy for the building.

Around £900,000 will be provided within the town deal for the project, with £39,000 coming from the town council and any additional funding being provided by Somerset Council.

A spokesman for Connolly Wellingham Architects (representing the town council) said: “The Town Hall site plays a significant role in the civic life of Bridgwater, from the cultural and entertainment offers of the theatre performances, the community events of the hall in its ‘multi-function mode’, to the office spaces and civic rooms of the upper floors – less accessed by the public but no less important in supporting the vibrant life of the town.

“It has been many years since funds were invested in modernising the
facilities, and almost all aspects of the building’s use are currently negotiating significant compromises that limit the function of the building and in many cases negatively impact the appreciation of its heritage character.”

The initial phase of the project is expected to begin by late-March, with the work on the main auditorium being prioritised during the summer and being fitted around existing bookings.

For more information on these plans, and the other projects within the Bridgwater town deal, visit www.bridgwatertowndeal.co.uk.