Brighton Hippodrome cinema plans approved by council

Artist's impression of redeveloped hippodrome Developers want to turn the Grade II-listed theatre into a £35m eight-screen Vue cinema and four restaurants

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Plans to turn one of Brighton's oldest theatres into a multiplex cinema have been approved by the council.

The plans for the Grade II-listed Hippodrome theatre, which has been empty for 10 years, would see the theatre turned into a £35m eight-screen Vue cinema and four restaurants.

English Heritage said the cinema proposals were likely to represent a "final chance to save the Hippodrome".

Brighton and Hove City Council will now refer the plans to the government.

The Victorian Society had objected to the plans. Kathy Clark from the society said: "The division of the magnificent auditorium would be too harmful to this grade II* listed building."

A spokesman said the council was "minded to grant" listed buildings consent for the changes to the Hippodrome.

"Because of objections from the Victorian Society, the council will refer the issue to the government to see if it wishes to decide the listed buildings consent application itself," he said.

Hosted The Stones

The now derelict building began life as an ice rink in 1897 before becoming a circus, which closed in 1902. It reopened as a theatre the following year.

During the 1960s it hosted The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and in 1967 it was transformed into a bingo hall, which it served as until 2006.

Works would include fully restoring all ornate plasterwork created by famous theatre designer Frank Matcham.

A new mezzanine floor would be installed across the main auditorium, with three cinema screens below and a restaurant above.

A new extension would be built to the north of the building and Another to the rear would house five more screens.

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