Have a look at the application here, and the detailed plans, and be prepared to be shocked....
You can also use the on-line site to submit comments. I would strongly suggest that to make these as effective as possible, you do refer to planning matters, rather than just general abhorrence of the scheme.
The balcony remains, but the seating is to be removed and the floor levelled to create a Gallery and 'Flexible Function Area' (Doc 8).
The stage goes to create an 'Exhibition Area' with another 'Exhibition Area' under the balcony.
There is potentially to be a Cafe, although this doesn't appear on the plans and searching the online planning system is less easy than it should be, but I have one serious, major, concern about the whole scheme.....just what are we going to show in this new Exhibition Area?
I went to An Lanntair over the weekend and it was quiet, deadly quiet, just as it seems to be on the occasional instances that we go there for a drink. With the Council already making very, very, substantial deficit support payments for the facility, are they now going to create a competing space that will also require revenue funding, and a cafe that will compete with the cafe in the library (proprietors Comhairle nan Eilean Siar) as well as all the hard-pressed businessmen in town?
Or are they just going to approve the alterations and leave us with a building that doesn't deliver the purposes for which it was intended?
An Lanntair should - and must - make a profit from the commercial activities to put it on a level playing field with private business. It must do that for it's own sake, and to prove to the sceptical taxpayers that it can, before the Council provide another space for Gaelic Mime Artistes or for sculptures made of Mars Bars wrappers and engine parts to undermine a struggling business.
Or they could reinvent the Town Hall as a public space, for the public of the islands.
The plans need Listed Building Consent. The absence of public consultation on the most historic and significant public building in the Western Isles should be enough to delay or refuse the application, and allow us a chance for some say in what happens to this fine building.
No doubt the Stornoway Historical Society will have something to say about these plans, and no doubt the Councillors who are members of SHS will take due attention to what SHS has to say. ( I've lifted the picture off their excellent and informative website.)