Decision due on new outdoor performing space for Hassocks school

Proposed outdoor performance space at Downlands Community School in Hassocks SUS-190201-105307001
Proposed outdoor performance space at Downlands Community School in Hassocks SUS-190201-105307001

A new open-air theatre at Hassocks’ Downlands Community School to be used by both pupils and the wider community could be approved next week.

The school is proposing to create a landscaped ‘amphitheatre’ with four tiers of timber sleeper seating arranged in a horseshoe shape and surfaced in artificial turf.

Proposed outdoor performance space at Downlands Community School in Hassocks SUS-190201-105237001

Proposed outdoor performance space at Downlands Community School in Hassocks SUS-190201-105237001

These would face a stage to the south with three acoustic screens/backdrops of 2.5 metres in height.

The project, inspired by the Brighton Open Air Theatre, would have a capacity of up to 163 people.

As well as providing a performance space for the school the theatre would also be made available for Hassocks community groups.

An application for the works is due to be discussed by West Sussex County Council’s planning committee on Tuesday (February 5).

Three letters of objection, two raising concerns and one in support have been received.

Officers are recommending approval.

In their report they said: “The proposed outdoor performance space would support education in the arts at the school, providing an important community facility to serve local educational needs.

“Further, the facility would be made available for wider community use, promoting social interaction and providing a cultural facility. The proposed development is supported in principle by the development plan and national policy.”