North Hertfordshire College reveal plans to demolish Letchworth community venue and replace with educational facility
- Credit: Archant
A college has revealed plans to demolish a community venue and use it to expand its educational facilities.
North Hertfordshire College (NHC) is seeking planning permission to knock down the Da Vinci Hall building, formerly called Plinston, in Letchworth GC and replace it with a new college building focused on creative arts.
The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise, sponsored by North Hertfordshire College, has been leasing the hall from the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation on a temporary basis since September, 2013, and discussions are ongoing to extend the loan.
In July 2012, it was proposed that the building in Broadway would eventually be turned into a new purpose-built arts centre run by Letchworth Arts Centre.
Previously Plinston was used by community groups in and around the town, prior to its closure in March 2012.
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The new plan comes as refurbishment work continues at the old Letchworth Grammar School building – adjacent to the Da Vinci Hall – which will open as the long-term home of the Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise in September this year.
The reopening of the grammar school building, which has been used sporadically since it closed in 1974, is part of the Heritage Foundation’s plans to revitalise Broadway Gardens as the setting for a new cultural hub.
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The studio school will deliver education for young people aged 14-19, balancing national curriculum subjects with real world skills through a project-based curriculum.
A spokesman for NHC said: “North Hertfordshire College is always seeking to provide the best resources and facilities for our students. The college is pleased to announce that we now have a fantastic opportunity to expand this project by also bringing the college’s Creative Arts Centre to Letchworth GC.
“Letchworth GC has a real vision to become a regional, creative hub and the college is very keen that this development is focused on supporting this vision by working closely with the local community and local businesses.”
John Lewis, chief executive of the Heritage Foundation, said: “The Heritage Foundation is in discussion with NHC regarding an extended lease for the former Plinston Hall.
“The college is presently exploring possible redevelopment opportunities to expand the educational facilities on this site, while retaining the existing Letchworth Grammar School building. This process will include a community consultation exercise prior to the submission of a planning application to North Hertfordshire District Council.”
Members of the public are being invited to comment on the proposal at a pre-planning application consultation which will take place on Wednesday, April 2, at NHC’s Goldsmith Centre in Broadway, Letchworth GC, between 2pm and 8pm.