A NEWLY formed Charitable Community Benefit Society has released revised plans it says could redevelop the Alexandra Theatre into a ‘year-round live entertainment venue and community hub’

It is calling on Teignbridge Council to reconsider its plans for the Newton Abbot venue.

A spokesperson for the society said the community benefit society is a charitable cooperative organisation that is used to run community venues and pubs around the UK.

However, a Teignbridge Council spokesperson said: ‘Although we are aware of these ideas, we have not seen any costings or details of how these would be funded and so cannot comment.

‘We continue to work on implementing the Future High Street Fund proposals which have been approved by the council.’

The Alexandra Theatre Newton Abbot society says it was set up ‘when it became clear to campaigners that Teignbridge District Council would not consider any plans to retain the historic Grade 2 listed theatre when it released its own consultation for the Future High Street Fund £9M grant application’.

The society has five founding directors. They are Newton Abbot CIC’s John Pike, co- Founder of Friends of the Alexandra Theatre and operator of NEWTS Claire Holden, venue owner and Teignbridge District Councillor Richard Daws, JJ’s Arts Academy’s Joanna Walling and chair of Newton Abbot Musical and Comedy Society Dr Richard Ward.

Cllr Daws said: ‘It is anticipated that the board will be expanded as the project progresses and the society will run a crowdfunder campaign that will ultimately engage hundreds of active members, in common with similar successful organisations across the UK.

‘After consulting with a 40+ strong cultural partnership of Newton Abbot and Teignbridge creative industry operators, the society was formed to save the Alex and to help create a vision for a transformational cultural quarter.

‘The plans centre around the regeneration of The Alexandra Theatre into a year round live entertainment venue and a community hub but also offers indicative plans of how this sits alongside a regenerated market hall and new state of the art cinema.

‘They have been completed by Newton Abbot firm PMR Architecture and are based on the previously released drawings of Jeremy Newcombe, the Newton Abbot based Architect behind the regeneration of Newton’s Place.’

Alongside the plans, the Community Benefit Society says it is is also creating a sustainable business plan for The Alexandra Theatre Newton Abbot, with input from CommunityShares.co.uk and Crowdfunder.co.uk.

The society is in conversations with funders such as the Architectural Heritage Fund and has ongoing contact with and support for the principle of retaining the grade 2 listed theatre from The Theatres Trust.

Cllr Daws said: ‘In February TDC voted not to consider retaining the Alexandra Theatre, despite opposition by 13 independent councillors.

‘A motion has been put forward to the Full Council meeting on July 26 by South Devon Alliance backed by other independent councillors that Teignbridge Council reconsider its plans and explores the retaining of the Alex as a year-round live entertainment venue and community hub as a centre point for a new transformational cultural quarter in Newton Abbot,’ he added.