£8 million scheme blow: Euro funding fails for development of former arts building

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PLANS to redevelop a former Doncaster College building have been abandoned after the cash to finish the scheme was lost.

But the trust behind the £8 million project still wants to go ahead with the scheme at some point.

No work had been done on the project for almost a year at the Church View site, where a regeneration scheme had been drawn up to create a new centre with 50,000 sq ft of space for 58 new studios, offices and workspaces.

The project would have developed workspace for creative, digital, arts and social enterprise businesses, all set around a landscaped courtyard.

It was originally set to have been completed by last month.

But now it has been confirmed the original project has been abandoned and the Doncaster Central Development Trust, which is behind the plans, has been forced to change direction.

In a statement, the trust said funding to complete the project had been lost.

John Giddins, chairman of the trust, said: “The Church View project is very much still alive, but the development will occur over a longer timeframe as we work to complete the building in stages.

“It is regrettable that we have not been able to resolve the funding issues with Yorkshire Forward but it is time to move on.

“We have been in discussions around our European funding bid for £3 million for nine months without achieving a result.

“Ultimately, we are another victim of these challenging economic circumstances, as we have been unable to satisfy our funders that we can deliver this project without risk. We own the building on behalf of the community and we aren’t going anywhere.”

He said five per cent of the scheme had been completed, in the form of the View Business Zone element of the development.

Work on the Church View project halted in September last year, raising concerns that the project had folded altogether. Church View was built in 1913 and forms part of Doncaster Minster Conservation Area.

It was an arts centre for Doncaster College for many years.

But it closed in 2006 after the college’s new campus at The Hub opened and was bought by Doncaster Central Development Trust three years later.

The trust now owns the Church View freehold.