Almost half a million pounds set aside from the redevelopment of Whitehill & Bordon’s army camp has been awarded to Phoenix Arts – setting the arts organisation on a path to becoming East Hampshire’s leading arts provider.

Phoenix Arts has continuously evolved alongside the former army town’s redevelopment and now runs an ever-growing programme of arts and community events not just at the Phoenix Theatre, but also at The Shed, the BOSC sports pavilion, the new Town Park and more.

Now, with the award of £498,888.59 from East Hampshire District Council’s Section 106 funding pot, Phoenix Arts says it will “unleash a wave of creative and operational developments” that will elevate its presence within the town and broaden its cultural influence across Hampshire.

The cash boost will be channelled into enhancements at The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre including a welcoming, eye-catching new frontage with the addition of a ramp to grant easy access for all. A new internal lift will also ensure the full Phoenix programme is within reach of everyone. And with the introduction of solar panels, Phoenix Arts will also reduce its carbon footprint.

Rob Allerston, CEO of Phoenix Arts, said: “With this Section 106 funding I promise to ensure this wonderful, historic building is safe for the generations to come and is a cultural landmark for all.”

Mr Allerston also thanked EHDC for its support and “unwavering belief in how the arts can transform people’s lives”.

Section 106 funding is a mechanism used in the UK to require developers to provide funding or support for community infrastructure or public amenities as part of their planning permission conditions. 

When a developer seeks planning permission for a new development, local planning authorities may impose certain obligations – known as Section 106 agreements – that the developer must fulfil.

These obligations are intended to offset the impact of the development on the local community and to ensure necessary infrastructure and amenities are provided.

The £498,888.59 award to Phoenix Arts was rubber-stamped by Councillor Andy Tree, the leader of the Whitehill & Bordon Community Party which secured a seat on East Hampshire’s cabinet after May’s local elections.

He also approved an award of £300,000 to Headley Parish Council for its campaign to build a new sports pavilion on the village playing fields.