SUPPORTERS of Minehead’s Regal Theatre are delighted to have cleared the last major hurdle before its proposed revamp, after a decade of preparation.

Planning permission has been granted for the frontage and ticket office to be upgraded and a lift to be installed to allow less mobile visitors to access the first floor facility more easily.

There are still some hoops to jump through, such as matters surrounding building regulations and access, but these should be simply formalities.

Ray Tew, chairman of Minehead Amateur Theatrical Association, said: “It is very exciting. We are all delighted to have got to this stage after 10 years of hard work.

“The passion and the dedication is still there and we are now in the final furlong.”

The project, which will bring the venue in line with the Disability Discrimination Act, is expected to cost £250,000, much of which has been raised already by volunteers who run the theatre, through ticket sales and fund-raising events.

Elaine Ross of the theatre said: “Getting planning permission is a big step forward.

“So many people have helped us hugely over the years, both in terms of moral support and financially.

“They have been very patient in waiting to see the fruition of our plans and we are very grateful for their continued support.”

Jean Peet, representative of Friends of the Regal, said: “Our members have staunchly supported this project, by pre-paying their subs for years and organising fundraising events.

“They have been marvellous.

“In a community like this, I think to have a local theatre that is totally run by volunteers is amazing, and without these dedicated supporters, it would probably be struggling a bit more.”

About 25,000 people come through the Regal’s doors each year to see more than 100 shows.