Brighton and Hove City Council will hold a debate about the future of the Brighton Hippodrome at a full council meeting on March 26.
THE debate has been triggered by a petition signed by more than 4,288 people calling on the council to support the venue returning to live theatre. 1,250 signatures were needed to trigger the debate.
A planning application was granted on November 28 last year to Alaska Developments to turn the venue into an eight-screen cinema with restaurants and retail units to be run by Vue Entertainment.
However, those plans have been abandoned, with Vue Entertainment stepping down from the project. Campaigners are calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to use all its available powers and best endeavours and to support plans to restore the magnificent Grade II* listed theatre, designed by Frank Matcham, to a working theatre.
Planning permission having been granted, a new owner is in the process of taking over the site. Since Vue Entertainment, the company that was to have operated the cinema, is no longer involved, the only plan to save the magnificent venue, described by The Theatres Trust as the finest unused theatre in the country, is the one being developed by campaign group Our Brighton Hippodrome (OBH).
The council’s City Plan names the Brighton Hippodrome as one of the key venues in the city’s cultural infrastructure that should be protected and enhanced “for their existing use or potential for such use”.
It is long past the time when the City Council should have issued an urgent repairs notice to protect one of the most important buildings in the city from further deterioration.
Meanwhile, campaigners are calling on the council to give its full support to enable campaign group OBH to complete its plans for restoration of the Hippodrome for live performance and as a major community asset.
With the council’s backing, OBH will be better placed to raise the funding for restoration and will be in a stronger position to negotiate with the site’s new owner.
Campaigners say a restored Hippodrome would add considerably to the local economy, serving the residents of the city and the county while attracting valuable tourism income with shows that cannot currently be presented in Brighton and Hove.
A petition on campaigning website 38 Degrees in favour of theatre restoration has achieved over 11,500 signatures.
Campaigners are calling on the council to acknowledge the massive public support for revival of the iconic Hippodrome for live performance, which is the preference of most of the council’s own elected members.
For more information about the campaign, click here:
To donate to the campaign fighting fund, donate here:
To sign the petition, click here: