Published: 06:00, 12 January 2021
An art gallery wanting to expand into its basement has received the go ahead from planners.
Taylor Jones & Son in Deal High Street, received permission from Dover District Council's planning department on Thursday.
Richard Taylor-Jones, cameraman from BBC's Countryfile programme, who runs the endeavour with wife Sonja, announced news to supporters in a newsletter.
He said: "This is a huge result for us and we know all your support played a big part in achieving it."
It follows customers' backing of the scheme, which involves creating stairs down to the underground gallery space including the Grade II listed wine vaults.
Mr Taylor-Jones added: "The council planners took on board the incredible number of positive planning comments shown for this project and worked with us to come up with the right solution.
"We can't thank you enough."
The couple aim to get stage one - the connecting stairs and lighting fitted for the first part of the underground expansion during the lockdown period so it could be up and running when restrictions are lifted.
The second stage will happen when business has recovered. The owners estimate by the end of this current lockdown the gallery will have been closed for five out of 12 months of the past year.
Stage two means the old Georgian wine vaults will be opened, providing a bigger social area for private views.
David Macdonald was among those to support the application by writing in to the district council's planning portal.
He said: "The opening of the wine vaults will make a piece of history open again to Deal and its visitors."
Michelle Martin said: "Opening up an unused space in this amazing building will only bring pleasure to those who treasure architecture and coupled with the fact this company are bringing art to all seems like a fantastic idea."
Paul Jolliffe said: "At present, the unused and architecturally interesting space below the gallery cannot be seen and appreciated by the general public.
"The proposed sympathetic alteration will allow access which, in addition to allowing others to enjoy its features, will support the viability of an independent well managed business."
Mr Taylor-Jones told Kentonline: “We were bowled over by the amount of public support we received for our plans and want to thank everyone for their kind comments.
"We also want to say thanks hugely to DDC planning department who worked closely with us and guided us to the best solution for us and the building.
"We hope now to bring something really special to the High Street and look forward to welcoming everyone when the world returns to some kind of normality.”