A WELL-known venue in Christchurch is set to become “more accessible” as plans for a new entrance are given the go ahead.

The Regent Centre in High Street has had an application granted for a £250,000 accessible entrance and lift.

The proposals will offer a better welcome to people with mobility problems, and those who find it difficult to get up the two sets of stairs in the Regent's foyer.

The centre’s management says the fuss involved in getting wheelchairs into the auditorium at the moment can make people feel they have "become part of the show".

According to documents submitted to BCP Council as part of the plans, the new entrance will be created on the southern side of the 1930s building, a short distance from the Wick Lane car park.

Bournemouth Echo: Accessible entrance visualisationAccessible entrance visualisation (Image: Footprint Architects)

It will incorporate a canopy designed in “the spirit of the art deco main entrance canopy to celebrate arrival”.

The new lift will be positioned at the junction between the theatre and the box office, and will have a view out towards Christchurch Priory from the theatre foyer.

It is expected to accommodate 12 passengers or two people in wheelchairs along with their carers.

The plans also involve replacing the existing fire escape stairs to provide a new emergency exit for the centre’s projection booth.

Once complete, the scheme would make the Regent Centre compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 for the first time.

Bournemouth Echo: Accessible entrance visualisationsAccessible entrance visualisations (Image: Footprint Architects)

The centre was required to submit a heritage statement in support of their proposals.

It reads: “The proposal will have minimal impact on the fabric of the existing building and will not have any impact on the High Street elevation.

“The proposal improves the public accessibility to the building and ensures a DDA compliant access to the public theatre.

“The proposal involves no change to the use of the building as a historical theatre and through the improvement of accessibility, aims to increase the usability and longevity to The Regent.”

A decision to grant the application was made on March 23.