Highly anticipated plans to transform Perth City Hall into a multi-million pound arts venue have finally been lodged.
The historic planning application for the city centre building, which famously hosted Margaret Thatcher’s maiden speech as Prime Minster, follows more than a decade of protracted negotiations.
Over the years there were calls to demolish the B-listed property, and alternative plans to turn it into a food market.
Last year, Dutch designer Mecanoo was selected to convert the Edwardian building into a major arts hub, expected to pull an extra 270,000 visitors into the city by 2023.
The milestone Tay Cities Deal agreement, signed by council leaders last week, hascleared the way for the latest plan, which details how the transformation will be carried out.
The proposals include two new entrances linked with an interior vennel space, a 70-cover licensed cafe, a three-story pavilion as part of the main hall and a second floor gallery.
The original entrance area will become a key part for the permanent gallery, with two grand staircases linking collections on the the ground and first floors.
The project is part of a planned £30 million overhaul of the city’s cultural assets, including a refurbishment of the Perth Museum and Art Gallery on George Street.
The public will now get a chance to have its say on the scheme before it goes before councillors for a final planning decision next year.
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Council leader Murray Lyle said: “I am delighted that people in Perth and the surrounding area will see renewed vibrancy in the city centre, thanks to funding being confirmed for the redevelopment of Perth’s museum portfolio.
“The council’s commitment to investing in buildings which promote the cultural economy means the City Hall project is able to move forward immediately. It is a key element of the city’s ongoing cultural transformation, which will bring people into the city to enjoy food, music, art and heritage.
“Feedback from local residents and businesses is really important to help us shape this exciting project, and I hope that as many people as possible will take the time to share their views on the plans.”
Culture Perth and Kinross (CPK), the charitable trust that runs museums on behalf of the local authority, will consult with local people about what kind of content and exhibitions they would like to see at the new look city hall.
Chief executive Helen Smout said: “I’m delighted that we have been successful in the award of funding from the Tay Cities Deal, which will allow CPK to be at the very heart of the creative and cultural community, not just in Perth, but nationally and internationally.
“The transformation of the city hall will not only provide an exciting home for the council’s amazing collection, but will also encourage visitors to explore Perth’s rich cultural heritage.”