WORK on a new auditorium in Bovey Tracey can now well and truly get underway thanks to a £200,000 grant from central Government.

Bovey Paradiso, the town’s premier arts centre, was awarded the grant as a part of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Community Ownership Fund.

This additional funding will enable the centre to make a good start on bulding the new auditorium, which will allow for a cinema, as well as an intimate theatre and is expected to seat around 100 people.

It will also allow for a sizeable portion of outstanding work to be completed, including opening the main entrance through the existing double doors and redecorating the outside of the building.

Given the volume of work to be done, the Paradiso have decided to temporarily close the restaurant. Currently sited in the snmall exhibition space it will then reopen in a smarter building, with a brand new entranceway into an expanded seating area under for the gallery.

‘It’s a project and a half!’ Andrew Huckerby, Director Of Operations at Bovey Paradiso, said.

‘There were only two awards in Devon and I think five in the whole of the South West, and so I am really pleased with what we have got’ he added.

MP for Central Devon, Mel Stride, who lobbied vigorously in Westminster for the funding, swung by the former King of Prussia pub which dates back to the 16th century on Friday, July 7, to celebrate the news alongside the great and the good from Bovey Paradiso.

‘This is fantastic news for Bovey,’ MP Mel Stride said.

‘The £200,000 grant is another huge step forward to providing a fantastic arts hub and deliver a much needed boost to the local economy’ the Central Devon MP said.

‘We have been very lucky to have him, he has really supported us throughtout the project,’ Andrew said.

‘Without him I don’t think we would have got this quite frankly’ he added

Paradiso Chairman, David McGahey, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted that we have secured this major pot, which will enable major works to take place, including the groundworks for the auditorium and improving accessibility by opening up the main entrance.

‘We are all very grateful for the support that Mel provided to make this happen.’