Monday, 3 November 2014

"Keep the Brighton Hippodrome"

Brighton Bits was originally rather sceptical about the last ditch campaign to save the Hippodrome as a live performance space. We were concerned at the parlous state of the interior and conscious of the 7 years that had passed since it was closed as a Bingo Hall.  7-years that had produced no realistic proposals for restoration of the building and its return to viable use. Under those circumstances the cinemas/restaurant plans seemed the only possible chance of avoiding the complete loss of the building through disuse and neglect in the same way that the Astoria has been lost. The conversion proposals also essayed to preserving the important historical features of the building and making all alterations reversible. Theoretically therefore, the building would be returnable to theatre use if the demand ever arose, but many, having regard to the likely costs of this, were sceptical whether this could ever be a realistic possibility after the building had been converted.

However a last-ditch campaign "Our Brighton Hippodrome" (OBH) was mounted and against the odds seems to have gained an influential foothold in the debate. OBH have submitted a viability study and a business plan for returning the Hippodrome to live theatre use, particularly for the large West End shows which no other theatre in Brighton is large enough to handle. The OBH submissions claim to show that restoration of the Hippodrome as a theatre is not only viable but fundable and sustainable.

The latest news is that the retail/cinema application is still under consideration by the City Planning Department while they study the OBH submissions. No target date has been announced for release of the formal determination.

A Save Our Hippodrome rally will be held near the Max Miller statue in New Road, Brighton at 2:00pm on Saturday 8 November.  A chance for all supporters to demonstrate the overwhelming strength of public feeling for theatre restoration.

An online petition to Keep Brighton Hippodrome  has now passed the 10,200 mark.

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