MANAGERS of Wallingford’s refurbished Corn Exchange theatre fear a neighbouring housing development could bring the curtain down on dramatic performances.

A planning application has been put forward for nine new homes to be built in the Lloyds Bank car park next door.

But staff at the theatre, where a £650,000 revamp has just been completed, fear the proximity of the development will cause major difficulties.

The venue’s marketing manager, John Evans, said: “The nine apartments would share a party wall with the Corn Exchange and we are concerned about the impact of noise filtering through in either direction.”

The planning application has been submitted by AC Lester & Son and has not yet been decided by South Oxfordshire District Council.

Mr Evans said: “Although the Corn Exchange theatre has been making noise at the heart of Wallingford for 40 years without complaint, current legislation permits neighbours’ complaints against noise-producing venues and puts the responsibility for managing and mitigating the impact of noise on the business producing the noise.

“The planning application specifies some sound insulation measures but we don’t believe these will be effective enough and therefore residents could be disturbed by music or loud films.”

Mr Evans said this had the ‘potential’ to impact the Corn Exchange financially or ultimately force it to curtail or even cease our performances.

He said: “If a complaint from one new resident can silence the church bells, then we think that this development has the potential to silence the Corn Exchange.

“That would of course be really tragic for the town, having just completed the refurbishment project and reopened with a panto that achieved audiences of 99 per cent capacity.”

Earlier this year the home of the Sinodun Players group reopened following a £650,000 refurbishment.

The theatre has been redecorated and given a new roof.

More work still needs to be done at the venue and this will cost a further £150,000.

Fundraiser for the roof project, John Warburton, said refurbishing the stage will cost about £20,000, while lighting rigs with the latest environmentally-friendly and economic LED systems will cost about £30,000.

The fundraising coordinator added that electric winches to raise and lower the cinema screen and lighting bars would cost a further £50,000.

A final £50,000 is needed for a Dolby sound system to allow it to compete with other cinemas.

The consultation period for the planning application concluded on Monday and a decision will be taken at a later date.