The ArgusHippodrome plans set to go ahead (From The Argus)

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Hippodrome plans set to go ahead

The Argus: The Hippodrome has stood unused for seven years The Hippodrome has stood unused for seven years

CONTROVERSIAL plans to transform a historic theatre are being recommended before they go before council chiefs.

Brighton and Hove City Councillors are being advised to pass through plans to convert the grade II listed Hippodrome into an eight screen cinema with cafes and restaurants.

The recommendation comes despite an 8,300 signature petition calling for the site to be retained as a live performance venue.

The proposals have split opinion, with The Theatres Trust, The Victorian Society, the Brighton Society, the Frank Matcham Society and the Ambassador Theatre Group all recording their objections to the plans, arguing the changes will rob the building of special interest.

But English Heritage, Hove Civic Society and the Regency Society have all supported the application, claiming it is the last chance to save a building which has stood unused for the past seven years.

The council has also received 130 letters of objection from residents and 26 letters of support.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has also objected to the plans over concerns of access to the building during a fire.

The Hippodrome was built as an indoor ice rink in 1896/97 before being converted to a circus by theatre designer Frank Matcham, who also designed the London Hippodrome, London Coliseum, and London Palladium.

At the turn of the 20th century it began its life as a theatre and was also used as a live music venue and television studio before being operated as a bingo hall from 1965 to 2007.

The new plans have been drawn up by London-based Indigo Planning on behalf of Kuig Property Investments.

Council officers claim that the revival of the venue as a theatre would not be “commercially viable”, based on the performance of the similarly-sized Brighton Dome, which “only operates with the assistance of a council subsidy.” It estimates that to transform the Hippodrome into a 1500-seater live venue would cost £21 million and produce an estimated annual trading loss of almost £250,000.

The report concludes: “The Grade II Brighton Hippodrome and adjacent Hippodrome House are in a poor and deteriorating state of repair, such that they have been identified as Buildings at Risk on both the English Heritage and council registers.

“It has been satisfactorily demonstrated that the proposed development to part-demolish, extend and convert the buildings to form a cinema complex with associated restaurants represents the optimum viable use of the buildings.”

Councillors will vote on the proposal at a planning committee scheduled for Wednesday.

Comments (21)

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11:13am Fri 11 Jul 14

Phani Tikkala says...

How the hell does the Dome, which is supposedly a success story, "only operate with the assistance of a council subsidy"????
How the hell does the Dome, which is supposedly a success story, "only operate with the assistance of a council subsidy"???? Phani Tikkala
  • Score: 13

11:32am Fri 11 Jul 14

rolivan says...

Who are the Councillor's being advised By?
Who are the Councillor's being advised By? rolivan
  • Score: 2

12:00pm Fri 11 Jul 14

stevo!! says...

"The recommendation comes despite an 8,300 signature petition calling for the site to be retained as a live performance venue. "

But it currently isn't a live venue, so it cannot be retained as one.

"Brighton and Hove City Councillors are being advised to pass through plans...."

By who? People with deep pockets and a desire to bribe officials?

“It has been satisfactorily demonstrated that the proposed development to part-demolish, extend and convert the buildings to form a cinema complex with associated restaurants represents the optimum viable use of the buildings.”

Satisfactory to who, exactly?
"The recommendation comes despite an 8,300 signature petition calling for the site to be retained as a live performance venue. " But it currently isn't a live venue, so it cannot be retained as one. "Brighton and Hove City Councillors are being advised to pass through plans...." By who? People with deep pockets and a desire to bribe officials? “It has been satisfactorily demonstrated that the proposed development to part-demolish, extend and convert the buildings to form a cinema complex with associated restaurants represents the optimum viable use of the buildings.” Satisfactory to who, exactly? stevo!!
  • Score: 2

12:22pm Fri 11 Jul 14

ICantThinkOfAName says...

I note that it was originally built as an ice rink. What does Brighton lack? Answers on a postage stamp!
I note that it was originally built as an ice rink. What does Brighton lack? Answers on a postage stamp! ICantThinkOfAName
  • Score: 16

12:41pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Stoney33 says...

theres already 2 cinemas within about a mile of that location, which although are busy, are not overly so

Why do we need another one? and theres already hundreds of restaurants and bars there

A proper concert venue would be much better, we only have the dome, which is more suited to sitting down affairs, and the brighton centre
theres already 2 cinemas within about a mile of that location, which although are busy, are not overly so Why do we need another one? and theres already hundreds of restaurants and bars there A proper concert venue would be much better, we only have the dome, which is more suited to sitting down affairs, and the brighton centre Stoney33
  • Score: 12

12:45pm Fri 11 Jul 14

We love Red Billy says...

Yet another example of the tail wagging the dog with 'officers' telling councilors what to do. Pity we have such a pathetic bunch of spineless toads ( all parties included ). We need independent councilors rather than those trying to fight out the same battles as in Westminster. Interesting how master Kitcat has been silent on yesterdays procession. Last time I looked he had not tweeted for 20 odd hours and then only about voting in eastern Europe. Pi**Pots all round @gzunder
Yet another example of the tail wagging the dog with 'officers' telling councilors what to do. Pity we have such a pathetic bunch of spineless toads ( all parties included ). We need independent councilors rather than those trying to fight out the same battles as in Westminster. Interesting how master Kitcat has been silent on yesterdays procession. Last time I looked he had not tweeted for 20 odd hours and then only about voting in eastern Europe. Pi**Pots all round @gzunder We love Red Billy
  • Score: 4

1:10pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Athena says...

Why do we need 8 more cinemas? Nowadays, people have enormous TVS at home and download films. It used to be an ice-rink, so why can't it be an ice-rink again?
Why do we need 8 more cinemas? Nowadays, people have enormous TVS at home and download films. It used to be an ice-rink, so why can't it be an ice-rink again? Athena
  • Score: 15

1:30pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Bsxking1 says...

Why don't they make it into something like covent garden in London with small shops and places to eat giving small businesses a chance rather than some multimillion pound profit making business
Why don't they make it into something like covent garden in London with small shops and places to eat giving small businesses a chance rather than some multimillion pound profit making business Bsxking1
  • Score: 13

2:32pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Bugzy84 says...

They are also purposing a cinema at the Hove Square development, how many cinemas are needed in a city as small as Brighton & Hove?!?
I like the idea of returning it to an ice rink, it will then provide Brighton with a bad weather venue which is sorely needed and as the temporary one at the Pavillion has proven it is very popular.
Maybe English Heritage might consider giving a loan lol.
They are also purposing a cinema at the Hove Square development, how many cinemas are needed in a city as small as Brighton & Hove?!? I like the idea of returning it to an ice rink, it will then provide Brighton with a bad weather venue which is sorely needed and as the temporary one at the Pavillion has proven it is very popular. Maybe English Heritage might consider giving a loan lol. Bugzy84
  • Score: 5

2:56pm Fri 11 Jul 14

PETE OF QUEENS PARK says...

We should all know by now that the clowns on this council do not listen to anybody even when their is overwhelming majority against ie Lewes road fiasco.
We should all know by now that the clowns on this council do not listen to anybody even when their is overwhelming majority against ie Lewes road fiasco. PETE OF QUEENS PARK
  • Score: 5

4:15pm Fri 11 Jul 14

s_james says...

rolivan wrote:
Who are the Councillor's being advised By?
Planning officers who write the reports
[quote][p][bold]rolivan[/bold] wrote: Who are the Councillor's being advised By?[/p][/quote]Planning officers who write the reports s_james
  • Score: -1

6:20pm Fri 11 Jul 14

hovebat says...

Having worked there up to it's closure seven years ago I can assure you that if something is not done soon the building will be beyond repair. We continually had problems, (I recall one major repair to the ceiling in the final year of our trading). The pipes leak and the rats were in a few days after we closed. Honestly there will be nothing left to preserve if something isn't done soon. A cinema is not ideal but it is a final chance for this historiv building.
Having worked there up to it's closure seven years ago I can assure you that if something is not done soon the building will be beyond repair. We continually had problems, (I recall one major repair to the ceiling in the final year of our trading). The pipes leak and the rats were in a few days after we closed. Honestly there will be nothing left to preserve if something isn't done soon. A cinema is not ideal but it is a final chance for this historiv building. hovebat
  • Score: 11

6:52pm Fri 11 Jul 14

jo_brown says...

Some of these comments are crazy! We definitely don't need another theatre but we DO NEED to grab this opportunity to save this unloved neglected gem of a building. We should embrace these proposals. This is the last chance to save the building for future generations. Have a good look at the proposals, application 04348-...and think about it..do we want another west pier scenario?
Some of these comments are crazy! We definitely don't need another theatre but we DO NEED to grab this opportunity to save this unloved neglected gem of a building. We should embrace these proposals. This is the last chance to save the building for future generations. Have a good look at the proposals, application 04348-...and think about it..do we want another west pier scenario? jo_brown
  • Score: 6

7:49pm Fri 11 Jul 14

stevo!! says...

jo_brown wrote:
Some of these comments are crazy! We definitely don't need another theatre but we DO NEED to grab this opportunity to save this unloved neglected gem of a building. We should embrace these proposals. This is the last chance to save the building for future generations. Have a good look at the proposals, application 04348-...and think about it..do we want another west pier scenario?
How can partly demolishing it and extending it POSSIBLY be saving it?

If it's unloved, let it rot...if it's viable, restore it.

There isn't a middle ground.
[quote][p][bold]jo_brown[/bold] wrote: Some of these comments are crazy! We definitely don't need another theatre but we DO NEED to grab this opportunity to save this unloved neglected gem of a building. We should embrace these proposals. This is the last chance to save the building for future generations. Have a good look at the proposals, application 04348-...and think about it..do we want another west pier scenario?[/p][/quote]How can partly demolishing it and extending it POSSIBLY be saving it? If it's unloved, let it rot...if it's viable, restore it. There isn't a middle ground. stevo!!
  • Score: -4

9:52pm Fri 11 Jul 14

hovebat says...

stevo!! wrote:
jo_brown wrote:
Some of these comments are crazy! We definitely don't need another theatre but we DO NEED to grab this opportunity to save this unloved neglected gem of a building. We should embrace these proposals. This is the last chance to save the building for future generations. Have a good look at the proposals, application 04348-...and think about it..do we want another west pier scenario?
How can partly demolishing it and extending it POSSIBLY be saving it?

If it's unloved, let it rot...if it's viable, restore it.

There isn't a middle ground.
I think there is middle ground.
The key thing is to preserve the ceiling/ plasterwork - the new plans appear to do this.
If they can preserve the original lighting rig room that would be a bonus as well.
The rest of the building - offices, changing rooms, cellars, old bars, kitchen, storage rooms are all expendable.
[quote][p][bold]stevo!![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jo_brown[/bold] wrote: Some of these comments are crazy! We definitely don't need another theatre but we DO NEED to grab this opportunity to save this unloved neglected gem of a building. We should embrace these proposals. This is the last chance to save the building for future generations. Have a good look at the proposals, application 04348-...and think about it..do we want another west pier scenario?[/p][/quote]How can partly demolishing it and extending it POSSIBLY be saving it? If it's unloved, let it rot...if it's viable, restore it. There isn't a middle ground.[/p][/quote]I think there is middle ground. The key thing is to preserve the ceiling/ plasterwork - the new plans appear to do this. If they can preserve the original lighting rig room that would be a bonus as well. The rest of the building - offices, changing rooms, cellars, old bars, kitchen, storage rooms are all expendable. hovebat
  • Score: 7

10:36pm Fri 11 Jul 14

jo_brown says...

Let it rot? Really?!!!
I am quite astounded!
Let it rot? Really?!!! I am quite astounded! jo_brown
  • Score: 3

10:53am Sat 12 Jul 14

625jinx says...

I remember seeing american artists at this great venue
Johnny Ray, Billy Daniels, Glen Campbell
british artists Eddie Calvert, David Whitfield, and many more
who did you see.
I remember seeing american artists at this great venue Johnny Ray, Billy Daniels, Glen Campbell british artists Eddie Calvert, David Whitfield, and many more who did you see. 625jinx
  • Score: 0

10:56am Sat 12 Jul 14

stevo!! says...

jo_brown wrote:
Let it rot? Really?!!!
I am quite astounded!
That is the present situation....was the article too long for you to read?
[quote][p][bold]jo_brown[/bold] wrote: Let it rot? Really?!!! I am quite astounded![/p][/quote]That is the present situation....was the article too long for you to read? stevo!!
  • Score: -1

1:48pm Sat 12 Jul 14

The Hatter says...

Regardless of its history, the place has outlived its usefulness. I can see no logical reason for getting sentimental about old theatre buildings. If we are going to subsidise the Arts then let us subsidise the creative talents that create exciting performances, not old buildings that belong to a bygone age. Like others I also can't see that creating another cinema is going to add anything to the present amenities of the town.
Regardless of its history, the place has outlived its usefulness. I can see no logical reason for getting sentimental about old theatre buildings. If we are going to subsidise the Arts then let us subsidise the creative talents that create exciting performances, not old buildings that belong to a bygone age. Like others I also can't see that creating another cinema is going to add anything to the present amenities of the town. The Hatter
  • Score: 1

8:13am Sun 13 Jul 14

hoveguyactually says...

625jinx wrote:
I remember seeing american artists at this great venue
Johnny Ray, Billy Daniels, Glen Campbell
british artists Eddie Calvert, David Whitfield, and many more
who did you see.
As a child I remember seeing Laurel and Hardy there, but sadly they were way past their prime and a total washout. But I also remember, with great affection, seeing Max Miller, Anne Shelton, Sophie Tucker, The Crazy Gang, as well as masses of unknown singers and comedians, who later found fame.

I also saw many huge musicals, on tour, there, which is something the Theatre Royal and the Dome, unlike the Eastbourne Congress Theatre, are unable to present - "Carousel", "Guys and Dolls", "Annie Get Your Gun" among them.

Brighton and Hove do not need any more cinemas, or restaurants. We are already overloaded with them. What we do need is a place where large musical events can be held. The other theatres are unsuitable, and the Brighton Centre is hideous (if anything should be destroyed it is that monstrosity).

However, I am pleased to learn that the building itself is to be preserved. About time too.
[quote][p][bold]625jinx[/bold] wrote: I remember seeing american artists at this great venue Johnny Ray, Billy Daniels, Glen Campbell british artists Eddie Calvert, David Whitfield, and many more who did you see.[/p][/quote]As a child I remember seeing Laurel and Hardy there, but sadly they were way past their prime and a total washout. But I also remember, with great affection, seeing Max Miller, Anne Shelton, Sophie Tucker, The Crazy Gang, as well as masses of unknown singers and comedians, who later found fame. I also saw many huge musicals, on tour, there, which is something the Theatre Royal and the Dome, unlike the Eastbourne Congress Theatre, are unable to present - "Carousel", "Guys and Dolls", "Annie Get Your Gun" among them. Brighton and Hove do not need any more cinemas, or restaurants. We are already overloaded with them. What we do need is a place where large musical events can be held. The other theatres are unsuitable, and the Brighton Centre is hideous (if anything should be destroyed it is that monstrosity). However, I am pleased to learn that the building itself is to be preserved. About time too. hoveguyactually
  • Score: 1

5:51pm Sun 13 Jul 14

theatreguy says...

BRIGHTON !!! What about East Sussex, West Sussex, West Kent, East Hampshire, South Surrey ?? Where is the theatre in the region where we can go to see major West End Shows, Ballet, Opera ??? How can BHCC be allowed to deny the region this opportunity?
BRIGHTON !!! What about East Sussex, West Sussex, West Kent, East Hampshire, South Surrey ?? Where is the theatre in the region where we can go to see major West End Shows, Ballet, Opera ??? How can BHCC be allowed to deny the region this opportunity? theatreguy
  • Score: 1

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