PLANS for a community arts centre for an east Cleveland market town moved a step closer when borough councillors gave the project their backing.

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have earmarked Guisborough’s Laurence Jackson School for a new build development after campaigners from the town took to the streets last summer to fight for a theatre.

Originally, the council shortlisted two potential sites - the Guisborough Youth and Community building and the King George V playing fields, next to the swimming pool.

However, when they carried out a feasibility study, two other options were identified - The Laurence Jackson School sports hall and a new build on the school site.

Today (Tuesday, January 28) the local authority’s cabinet agreed to go ahead with the scheme at the school which will see the creation of a new arts facility as part of a major overhaul of its buildings.

And the decision was welcomed Councillor Mark Hannon, the cabinet member for economic development, he said: “I think it is fantastic news for the people of Guisborough. When you think they came to see us in the summer, and it is only a short period of time since then, it is great that we have been able to provide this facility for the people in the town.

“This was not about a certain individual, it was about what the community wanted and it time for the people to get behind it.”

Members of the Earthbeat Theatre Company and local residents had protested outside a council meeting last year in an attempt to persuade the authority to give them use of the town's former register office. But the council decided to sell it to a national pub chain.

Councillor Joan Guy, the council's cabinet member for children's services and education, said: “This is something that I’m really pleased to see coming to the town, the arts is something that you still seem able to attract funding for.

“I can understand the people of Guisborough wanting something like this in the town, as the arts is something that enriches people’s lives.”

According to the report Earthbeat will continue to look for an alternative venue in the town as they didn't think the school venue would be suitable for their needs.