Our Dance Academy plans were thwarted
OH HOW I struggled holding in my screams and shouts of frustration on reading the headline I'll Bring Dance Academy Back to Life" (Tuesday).
This was not through disapproval, for such an architectural wonder and marvellous building of Victorian craftmanship deserves nothing more than tender restoration. No, my frustrations were born out of disbelief.
Why? In the early part of 2010 I and a small group of like-minded businessmen got together to discuss the very same building. Plans were set in motion to draw up our own restoration programme for the beautiful Grade 2 listed building.
After lengthy public research it was noticed that the general consensus was one of fondness for the Dance Academy, and that it should be saved from neglect and if possible restored to its former glory as The Palace Theatre as it was on its opening in 1898.
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Unfortunately, back then, we were thwarted at every step with problems including some from the likes of English Heritage, The Theatres Trust and Victorian Society. But our main hurdle, and most frustrating obstacle, was in persuading the present owner Mr Manoucehr Bahmanzadeh to part with this marvel.
In our efforts we managed to find original photographs, drawings and plans of the spectacular interior. Such was our passion that we tracked down skilled stonemasons and craftsman whose skills would see the internal structure restored with as much skill and splendour as its original designer wished for.
However, I would like to wish Mr Bahmanzadeh all the luck with his proposed plans, and can't wait to see the Dance Academy once again become iconic within Plymouth's cultural heritage.