Derby Hippodrome restoration campaign refused council help

The Hippodrome today It is estimated more than £15m would be needed to buy and restore the building
The Hippodrome today It is estimated more than £15m would be needed to buy and restore the building

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Campaigners trying to restore the Derby Hippodrome have suffered a setback after being refused financial help from the council.

Derby City Council, which previously spent £150,000 on restoring parts of the building, said it could no longer afford to support the project.

Leader of the council Paul Bayliss blamed government cuts and the need to prioritise funding for other services.

The Hippodrome Restoration Trust said they had not been given a fair hearing.

The 99-year-old theatre in Green Lane has stood empty for more than five years. Part of it was demolished in 2008 when the owner tried to develop it and it was damaged by fire.

'Dream possibility'

The trust had hoped to buy the site from the current owner and restore the building into a working theatre, at an estimated cost of more than £15m.

Chairman Joan Travis said: "This is not just doing up an old theatre. It incorporates helping vulnerable people and improving an area of Derby that is a disgrace.

"Everybody would agree that if we got the theatre going, and got the footfall into that area, then things will fall into place.

"We are definitely going to make a stink about it. We are not giving up on it and we are more fired up than ever so watch this space."

Mr Bayliss suggested the group should look at obtaining funding from other organisations or an investor.

He said: "We need to spend our money on delivering services for people in Derby and making sure when we are investing money that we are getting enough bang for our buck.

"We have had to draw the line somewhere and at this point in time we have decided to spend our money elsewhere."

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