Orchard Theatre in Dartford Set to Reopen After Hazardous Material Discovered in Roof and Closure Last September

After a nationwide audit of public buildings, reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) was discovered in the roof of the Orchard Theatre in Dartford, leading to its immediate closure in September. Plans have now been submitted to replace the roof and ensure the safety of this important entertainment venue.

The theatre, located in Home Gardens, has been a beloved community facility since 1983, hosting a variety of shows and events. However, the discovery of the hazardous material prompted its closure, in accordance with national guidance.

In the meantime, a temporary theatre, known as Orchard West, has been set up just 300 metres away in Hythe Street, which has been entertaining audiences since December. But plans are now underway to fix the original theatre and reopen it later this year.

The proposed plans include building a new roof with a steel metal deck to replace the existing one. This would require an increase in depth to meet acoustic requirements and would also involve installing solar panels. The proposal also seeks to reinstall guard rails and replace the current door set for roof access.

Council leader Jeremy Kite hopes that the theatre can reopen by August or September, in time for the panto season. The closure of the theatre has had a significant impact on the local economy, with an estimated loss of £5 million in revenue. The cost of the repair works has not yet been disclosed.

To stay updated on the progress of the Orchard Theatre roof replacement, be sure to tune into this week’s Kent politics podcast. The importance of this venue to the community cannot be understated, and the council is working hard to ensure its swift and safe reopening.

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