Historic Southwold building could soon be a radio station

An historic Southwold building is being transformed into a radio station

An historic building with striking views over the Suffolk coast is being transformed into a radio station.

The Casino on Gun Hill, in Southwold, is being given a new lease of life by Blyth Valley Radio, a community radio station which has been broadcasting across the Waveney region since 2008.

Built in the early 1800s as a small library, the octagonal Casino is owned by Southwold Town Council. The council approached Blyth Valley Radio, which is run and manned entirely by volunteers, in July last year and plans for an official change of use are now before Waveney District Council.

Bill Jagger, chairman of directors at the radio station, said: 'We were offered the Casino at a decent rent and we thought we'd go for it. It feels like a natural progression.

'We've applied for a change of use and we've started installing the equiptment. If all goes to plan we should be operational within the next five or six weeks.'

Blyth Valley Radio launched online in 2008 and began broadcasting on FM in July 2009. The main studio is at St Felix School in Reydon, near Southwold, and there are currently more than 50 volunteers, including 25 presenters aged between 10 and 89.

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Their aim is broadcast a range of programmes for all tastes and to provide a platform for music and speech programmes that may not be represented by other radio stations in the Blyth Valley area.

Mr Jagger said the Casino studio will be used for broadcasting as well as recording.

He said: 'People will have the choice of where they want to broadcast from, but I've got a feeling the Casino will prove popular with the views it has.'

The unique building was previously used by Southwold Museum as a library and reading room. No one from the museum was available to comment.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said public consultation on the plan is open until January 28 and a decision is expected within the next six weeks. The planning application expires on February 15.

To find out more about Blyth Valley Radio listen on 105 FM, visit www.blythvalleycommunityradio.co.uk or call 01502 723900.