AMATEUR actors celebrated after planners gave them the go-ahead to move to a new home.
Kirklees Council yesterday allowed Scissett Stage Door Theatre Company to set up a theatre in Clayton West.
The group’s chairman Clr Elaine Ward said: “I think it’s great. I’m very happy with this decision because it’s been dragging on for a long time.”
The council’s Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee yesterday gave the company permission to convert the disused Baptist Chapel on High Street in Clayton West into a theatre.
The decision will allow Scissett Stage Door Theatre Company to move from its current home at Skelmanthorpe Methodist Church on Pilling Lane.
Clr Ward said the move would be a big boost to the 40-strong theatrical group.
“The new theatre will have proper changing rooms and facilities,” she said.
“We hope to attract other groups of players who want to perform there.”
The chapel will also be used as a community centre.
Clr Ward said: “Clayton West has nothing at all. The whole of the Denby Dale ward, which covers 64 square miles, is lacking in places to hold meetings.
“We hope to attract lots of community groups and we’ve already had interest from ballet groups, Kayes School, choirs and bands.”
Clayton West Baptist Church was built in 1840 and closed in the early 1980s.
Clr Ward said: “It was used as a youth club, but that closed about 10 years ago and since then it’s only been used for storage. The building is falling to pieces.”
Scissett Stage Door Theatre Company treasurer Richard Hobson applied for planning permission to convert the chapel last year.
He proposed knocking down the stone extension at the back of the church and building a new extension 20 metres long and 8.3 metres wide. There would also be 15 parking spaces created.
And Mr Hobson proposed removing the fittings – including the baptismal tank, chimneys, floorboards and chimneys. He also wanted to install a second floor to accommodate dressing rooms and meeting rooms.
Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee approved the proposal in December – but only if the theatre could reach an agreement with council officers about a range of issues including parking.
Kirklees planners sent the application back to the sub-committee urging councillors to reject the plan.
But the sub-committee yesterday decided the plan could go ahead – with one condition.
Clr Ward said: “They said that we couldn’t have any matinee performances between 4pm and 7pm when the road is busy.
“We weren’t planning on putting on any matinees.”
Clr Ward represents Denby Dale on Kirklees and also serves on Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee.
In line with council rules, the Conservative left the room at Dewsbury Town Hall yesterday after speaking in favour of the development.