Theatre set to be demolished as part of new school venture

LOOKING AHEAD: Headteacher Wayne Lloyd.
LOOKING AHEAD: Headteacher Wayne Lloyd.

A theatre in the grounds of Thomas Gainsborough School is set to be demolished as part of the site’s multi-million pound redevelopment.

Prospect Theatre will be knocked down in the summer unless £500,000 can be found to rescue the building.

Headteacher Wayne Lloyd, who is set to oversee a complete rebuild of the school in Great Cornard, said it did not make financial sense to keep a building the school did not need.

“The position is that the facilities that are there will be provided in the new building,” said Mr Lloyd.

“It means we won’t have to traipse the whole school across for assemblies.”

Mr Lloyd said the decision to pull down the building was not set in stone, however.

“If the community is able to come up with a proposal to try to save it, then we will listen,” he said.

“It is whether the community wants to keep the theatre as a local asset. It is not in the best of health, which is why it is being demolished.

“It would cost about £500,000, if not more, to renovate. If someone can come up with the money, then we are prepared to listen.”

Mr Lloyd said he understood that many people would be reluctant to lose the building.

He added: “If the parish council is prepared to adopt it, then we are happy for that to happen.”

Parish councillor Tony Bavington refused to be drawn on whether that was possible.

“I don’t think it should be demolished,” he said. “It is one of our few public buildings and, if there is any way to save it, we should try.”

Plans for the redevelopment have been agreed by Babergh District Council. Work is expected to get under way in June.