TRUSTEES of Settle's Victoria Hall were celebrating this week after hearing they would receive a grant of more than £200,000 to help with its restoration.

It was revealed on Wednesday that the Settle Victoria Hall Company would receive a grant of £201,500 for the restoration of the old music hall.

Without the grant, many people feared the building would have fallen out of use and closed.

The starting date for the restoration work is now planned for July 31. The plans include an extension to give the building a new lease of life as a community centre and theatre.

Victoria Hall, built in 1853, is an early example of a music hall and, though not listed, lies in a conservation area.

It stands on the site of the old National School which was demolished when the current primary school was built in Upper Settle.

The refurbishment will provide a new lift for disabled people and there will be conservation work on the unique "Act Drop" which features a painting of Settle Market Place and is used instead of theatre curtains.

In addition, the stage will be extended, there will be more modern dressing rooms plus a kitchen and two smaller halls.

There will also be a general refurbishment of the main hall with more comfortable seating in the auditorium and balcony.

Ray Taylor, the Heritage Lottery Fund's regional manager for Yorkshire and Humber, told the Herald: "By providing a new use for Settle's Victoria Hall through its restoration, it will continue to be of use to the local community rather than standing redundant."

He added that the project would also increase the opportunities for visitors to the town.

The project still needs several thousands of pounds from local people to enable it to claim substantial grant monies from various bodies, however.

Local people have already raised about £10,000 and an appeal has gone out to local businesses, who have responded well.

Coun Barbara Middleton told Settle Town Council on Monday it was hoped more funding would be confirmed in the imminent future. The total cost of the project would be around £400,000.

Coun Middleton said the restoration of Victoria Hall would be great for Settle, although the building would need the continued support of the community to ensure its future success.

Chairman Beth Graham added that when the hall was completed and made into a better venue, people from all over the area would be able to use it.

"It would be nice if others could chip in as well," she said.

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