Art cen­tre takes step for­ward

Per­mis­sion is granted to con­vert a for­mer school

Perthshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Clark

Plans to re­de­velop Perth’s for­mer St John’s Pri­mary School into an arts hub took a step for­ward this week as per­mis­sion was granted to trans­form the build­ing’s in­te­rior.

The build­ing, which was closed in 2011, is set to be­come a Cre­ative Ex­change, of­fer­ing a mix of of­fices and stu­dios for artists to help es­tab­lish them­selves and grow their re­spec­tive busi­nesses.

The site is also set to host the Fa­mous Grouse Ideas Cen­tre, which is hoped will be­come a hub of in­no­va­tion and in­spi­ra­tion.

Con­struc­tion is set to be­gin early next year and, once it is built, the project will fea­ture 26 stu­dios, 13 of­fices, a pub­lic cafe, and an ex­hi­bi­tion and work­shop space, which will be open to the com­mu­nity.

Coun­cil­lor Colin Stew­art is con­vener of Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment, en­ter­prise and in­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee de­scribed plan­ning per­mis­sion be­ing rub­ber-stamped as a “big step for­ward”.

He said: “The work will trans­form the old school build­ing into a fa­cil­ity that will be a unique prospect for those who work in the cre­ative in­dus­tries.

“When it opens in 2019, it will be a cen­tre­piece of our am­bi­tion to en­hance the rep­u­ta­tion of Perth as a cul­tural hub for Scot­land, along with other de­vel­op­ments that will make up our cul­tural quar­ter.”

The Cre­ative Ex­change, once opened, will be man­aged on be­half of the coun­cil byWork­shop and Artists’ Stu­dio Pro­vi­sion Scot­land Ltd.

WASPS’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Au­drey Car­lin, said: “Re­ceiv­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for Perth Cre­ative Ex­change and we are re­ally ex­cited Artists Luisa Ra­maz­zotti, Claire Harkess, Susie John­ston and Libby Scott out­side the for­mer St John’s Pri­mary School about mov­ing this project for­ward with Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil.

“We have iden­ti­fied a dis­tinct need for cre­ative of­fice and workspace in Perth and are look­ing for­ward to bring­ing our ser­vice to the thriv­ing cre­ative com­mu­nity that is cur­rently based within the city and wider re­gion.

“In par­tic­u­lar, Perth Cre­ative Ex­change will re­tain tal­ent in the city and will pro­vide new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the 650 stu­dents at Perth Col­lege UHI who un­der­take cre­ative cour­ses each year, help­ing them to es­tab­lish their ca­reers in the city.

“This project will de­velop Perth’s cul­tural of­fer and sup­port com­mu­nity ac­cess to the arts and cul­tural learn­ing.”

A sec­ond plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the build­ing’s ex­ter­nal fea­tures, which will in­clude a new en­trance be­ing cre­ated to the build­ing on Stor­mont Street, still needs to be sub­mit­ted to plan­ning of­fi­cers.


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