Morley’s former Orbit nightclub could become adult learning centre as part of £25m regeneration plans

The home of the former Orbit and Afterdark nightclub in Morley could be transformed into an adult learning centre, should the town be successful in its bid for £25m of Government cash.

Monday, 8th February 2021, 1:51 pm

Improvements to the Morley’s town hall, green space and railway station also form part of the town’s bid for a slice of the Government’s Towns Fund.

A decision on the plan by Whitehall is expected in the coming months, and one of its architects has claimed it could help the town “confidently face the future”.

The New Pavillion building saw performances from some of Europe’s top techno DJs during its incarnation as the Orbit nightclub in the 1990s.

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Town deal board chairman Gerald Jennings in Queen Street.

Originally opened as a “Cine-Variety Theatre” in 1911, the building has also seen life as a cinema, theatre and bingo hall and then The Afterdark nightclub. It was most recently used as a restaurant, but has now stood empty for several years.

The Towns Fund bid states that the New Pavilion Skills Campus would see the historic site redeveloped into a “high-quality adult skills hub”.

Other work includes improvements to Morley Town Hall and Town Square, “delivering a high-quality refurbishment of the Grade I listed building and developing a cluster of arts and culture spaces”.

An improvement to the so-called Morley Station Gateway, would help “better connect the train station to the town centre and wider Morley area.”

The plans also include an investment fund to target restoration and re-use of prominent town centre buildings.

Other improvements to green space, business support and travel routes also form part of the plan.

Gerald Jennings, chairman of the Morley Town Deal Board, said: “We were keen to build on the town’s proud history and unique identity in a way which confidently faces the future. From restoring historic buildings for new uses to investing in sustainably connecting our town, I believe our proposals achieve just that.

“We were blown away by the ideas of residents and businesses on how they wanted to see Morley transformed, and I hope we can deliver this funding to help achieve their vision.”

If accepted, the Morley Town Deal Board said it will develop the projects in further detail over the next year but, in the meantime, a number of smaller projects are set to be completed this spring. This work is focused across the town centre, with public artwork planned alongside improvements at Morley Bottoms, on Queen Street and in Scatcherd and Lewisham parks.