Brighton Lib Dems welcome the call for an “open discussion” on the future of the Brighton Hippodrome theatre following the collapse of plans to convert the historic building into a cinema.
THE Brighton Hippodrome has been an entertainment venue since 1897, acting at different times as a musical hall, ice rink, circus, vaudeville theatre, and has hosted shows by legendary artists such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It has been empty since 2007, when it was used as a bingo hall.
English Heritage has listed the Frank Matcham building at Grade II for its architectural and historical importance.
Chris Bowers, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion, said: “The collapse of Vue Entertainment’s proposals for a cinema and retail centre provide a welcome opportunity to give proper consideration to some of the alternative ideas for the Hippodrome, some of which look to be much more in tune with the building’s heritage and the spirit of Brighton.
“Some city councillors have been quoted as saying this is a planning matter, but if it is confirmed that Vue Entertainment is abandoning its proposals for the Hippodrome completely, then this becomes a matter for the whole city.
“I therefore welcome the call by Our Brighton Hippodrome for an open discussion between a representative group of councillors, council officers, Our Brighton Hippodrome, English Heritage, The Theatres Trust, and the MP and prospective parliamentary candidates for the Pavilion constituency. OBH has the full support of the Lib Dems in finding a solution that respects this wonderful building and arts facility.”
A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of Vue’s announcement that they have withdrawn their interest in running a cinema in the redeveloped Hippodrome.
“We are disappointed to hear this as we do not want anything to delay the redevelopment, which will repair, restore and re-occupy the most significant parts of the buildings.
“This is ultimately a matter for the owners of the building and the agents acting for them.
“They have not notified us of any changes to their overall plan.
“Given the comments made by Vue regarding the ownership of the Hippodrome site we are seeking urgent clarification from Kuig Property Investments, who we understand to be the owners of the site.
“In terms of the planning permission that has been granted regarding the Hippodrome, nothing has changed.”