Plans for dance school shelved as costs spiral
Plans to create a new multimillion pound dance and theatre space in Ashford have been put on hold.
The estimated cost of the proposed International Dance Academy at the town’s Stour Centre, which would have provided a new home venue for the award-winning Jasmin Vardimon Company, has doubled, making the project unfeasible.
In addition, a £3m grant from the Arts Council for the scheme has also been withdrawn.
The disappointing news was announced at the July meeting of the Ashford Strategic Delivery Board, which is closed to the public and press, and the report for the meeting was only released last week.
The report states: “The chairman said by way of introduction that the council remained very committed to Jasmin Vardimon (JVC) but unfortunately the estimated cost of the proposed scheme had now almost doubled and the Arts Council had also withdrawn their funding.
“It was now unaffordable and was holding up a major development of the Stour Centre which was desperately needed.”
Plans for the dance academy were put forward at the end of 2013, and were earmarked by the council as one of its “big eight” schemes to ensure economic growth and prosperity of the borough.
The scheme would have been
What do you think? Write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford, TN24 8JR or email kentishexpress@ thekmgroup.co.uk part of a planned regeneration of the Stour Centre and was scheduled to be created on the older side of the building.
It would have included a 300-seater performance space and rehearsal studio and provided a place to show theatre and dance productions in the town.
Originally it was expected to cost £8.75m. However, this has now risen to an unreasonable £16m.
The cost escalation is due to a number of factors, including the original budget making inadequate allowances for inflation, contractor mark-ups and design fees, as well as the unexpected need to build an extension to accommodate the JVC spaces, auditorium and a new entrance.
Plans to create a new home venue for the Jasmin Vardimon Company have been put on hold
Jasmin Vardimon Company performing Freedom