BUILDING work on a new performing arts centre for Bridgwater is set to start at the end of January.

Bridgwater College hopes work on its proposed purpose-built venue, for use by students and the wider community, will commence in a matter of weeks if recent flooding keeps at bay.

Planning permission for the centre, complete with its 350-seat auditorium, was approved by Sedgemoor DC in February 2012.

Having been in the pipeline since 2011, the project has now completed its design phase, and is now ready to become a reality on land to the north east of Bridgwater’s College Way, which has been donated by Sedgemoor District Council.

Jenny Ashworth, head of academic partnerships and marketing at the College, said: “This is really, really exciting.

"Being from the Bridgwater area, and knowing what I will mean for the town and the opportunities it will bring, I think will be fantastic for the community and for Somerset, and particularly with there not being many arts venues.

"It’s a very exciting time both for the college and for Bridgwater.”

“Flexibility” is central to the vision for the new arts centre, says Jenny, who was directly involved with designing the venue, in her former role as section leader for music and the performing arts.

She added: “We have designed it to make it a flexible venue, so that it is able to accommodate all sorts of different events and performances.”

The Bridgwater Theatre Trust, which dreamt of a theatre for Bridgwater, recently decided to disband in light of the Bridgwater College venue being given the go ahead, handing a total £4,000 in donations to the town hall and arts centre for new equipment.

Grace Good, former vice chair of the Trust, said: “I hope the new venue will be completely for Bridgwater, and within the reach of arts groups… it would be nice. People would be able to park their cars.”