Sussex

Brighton Hippodrome owners carry out study to reopen venue

The Brighton Hippodrome exterior Image copyright Theatres Trust
Image caption The disused theatre which is deemed "at risk" is situated in Middle Street in Brighton

The new owners of Brighton Hippodrome are carrying out a study in a bid to reopen the Grade II-listed site.

Academy Music Group (AMG), which runs live music and club venues, is working with Brighton and Hove City Council, the Theatres Trust and Historic England to find a "beneficial viable use".

The hippodrome, which was sold in April, is a "heritage asset of national importance" deemed "at risk" by the Theatres Trust.

It has been empty since 2007.

Last year, the council gave the go-ahead for the hippodrome to be turned into retail outlets, a restaurant and a Vue cinema but the developer pulled out.

The building is number one on the Theatres Trust's Theatre Buildings at Risk Register and high on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register.

Image copyright Theatres Trust
Image caption The Theatres Trust said the building is a highly significant heritage asset

It was designed and built as an ice skating rink in 1897 but spent most of its time as a theatre before turning into a Bingo Hall in the 60s.

During the six-month study, AMG and the Theatres Trust will also be working with Our Brighton Hippodrome and the Frank Matcham Society as part of a steering committee.

The trust said it was keeping an "open mind" about the building's future and Russell Duly, from AMG, said the steering committee had its full support.

Campaigners Our Brighton Hippodrome and Brighton Hippodrome CIC are calling for it to be restored to its "former glory" and turned into a state-of-the-art venue with an international reputation.

Spokesman David Fisher said: "This is the moment we have been working towards for the past 18 months."

But he added: "This is not the end of the line, just the first milestone."

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Warren Morgan described it as a very positive initiative, though he stressed: "We are keen to see a use that complements our ambitions for the economic development of this area of the city centre."

Image copyright Theatres Trust
Image caption The former circus and theatre was originally designed as an ice skating rink

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