Fighting fund set up to save Brighton's Hippodrome Theatre

Fighting fund set up to save Hippodrome Theatre

Fighting fund set up to save Hippodrome Theatre

First published in News by

Campaigners have stepped up their bid to save a theatre as a live performance venue by launching an urgent funding appeal.

The Our Brighton Hippodrome campaigners have launched a fighting fund appeal to raise £15,000 in 20 days to help finance their battle to revive the 117-year-old building. Organisers said the Hope for Hippodrome fund will help to pay for expected legal costs.

The group is lobbying the Secretary of State to call in the proposal to transform the venue in Middle Street, Brighton, into an eight-screen cinema and four restaurants.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee voted last week to approve the £17.5 million plans that will see much of the auditorium’s prized plasterwork and decor retained and refurbished.

But objections from the Victorian Society to the plans meant the council referred the decision to the Government, which will now decide in the upcoming weeks whether the application should be decided by a public inquiry.

The team behind the plans say the renovation is reversible, allowing the site to be converted back to a theatre at a later date.

Council officers told last week’s meeting that the cinema renovation would mean up to 60% of the work needed to restore the live performance capability would be carried out.

West End shows Our Brighton Hippodrome campaigners are working on plans for it to be used as a 1,550-seater site capable of hosting theatrical performances, including West End shows. They say a restored Brighton Hippodrome, together with the Dome Concert Hall, the Theatre Royal and the Brighton Centre, would make the city a contender for the title of “entertainment capital of Great Britain”.

A petition launched last week calling on Local Government Minister Eric Pickles and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis to call in the decision was submitted after gaining more than 1,700 signatures.

Campaign member David Fisher said the group is working on a viability study for its proposals and were working on a business plan with the country’s biggest theatre organisation, Ambassador Theatre Group.

He added: “We are optimistic that the Secretary of State will call the application in. This will give us a couple more months. We are going to need a fighting fund, particularly for legal representation.

“The money started rolling in as soon as people knew about the fund, which is encouraging.”

Our Brighton Hippodrome supporters are being asked to donate a minimum of £2 to the fighting fund.

Payments can be made over the counter at any Lloyds Bank. People can also transfer money online using sort code 30 84 41 and the Our Brighton Hippodrome account number 44235460.

Comments (12)

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1:14pm Fri 25 Jul 14

We love Red Billy says...

Cancel the i360. Loadsa money but not in some ones back pocket.
Cancel the i360. Loadsa money but not in some ones back pocket. We love Red Billy
  • Score: -1

1:34pm Fri 25 Jul 14

notaconspiracy says...

No way! When I came here for college, early 80s, there was a group raising funds to reopen the West Pier.

I believe that the group are still raising funds, even now that the pier has all but gone, and I never noticed any evidence of them spending any any of the money raised on the pier. Smells bad to me!
No way! When I came here for college, early 80s, there was a group raising funds to reopen the West Pier. I believe that the group are still raising funds, even now that the pier has all but gone, and I never noticed any evidence of them spending any any of the money raised on the pier. Smells bad to me! notaconspiracy
  • Score: 14

1:45pm Fri 25 Jul 14

We love Red Billy says...

notaconspiracy wrote:
No way! When I came here for college, early 80s, there was a group raising funds to reopen the West Pier.

I believe that the group are still raising funds, even now that the pier has all but gone, and I never noticed any evidence of them spending any any of the money raised on the pier. Smells bad to me!
Thats a whole other investigation waiting to happen #police
[quote][p][bold]notaconspiracy[/bold] wrote: No way! When I came here for college, early 80s, there was a group raising funds to reopen the West Pier. I believe that the group are still raising funds, even now that the pier has all but gone, and I never noticed any evidence of them spending any any of the money raised on the pier. Smells bad to me![/p][/quote]Thats a whole other investigation waiting to happen #police We love Red Billy
  • Score: 8

2:10pm Fri 25 Jul 14

beatle2 says...

I seem to be missing something when reading this story. I would be the first to agree that we should, wherever possible, preserve our old buildings but in this case I am somewhat bewildered. This building has not operated as a theatre since 1967 and has been boarded up for several years. Where were all these people who want to keep it open during that period of time and I am not aware of any 'fighting funds' being launched to revive the building. Only now at the last possible moment do people come out of the woodwork when others make practical proposals to use this site.
If Brighton needed this building as a theatre something would have been done long before now. This building has a history with regard to the artists that have appeared there but nobody had any interest in running it as a theatre since 1967. Therefore the last minute response is emotional rather that in anyway realistic.
I seem to be missing something when reading this story. I would be the first to agree that we should, wherever possible, preserve our old buildings but in this case I am somewhat bewildered. This building has not operated as a theatre since 1967 and has been boarded up for several years. Where were all these people who want to keep it open during that period of time and I am not aware of any 'fighting funds' being launched to revive the building. Only now at the last possible moment do people come out of the woodwork when others make practical proposals to use this site. If Brighton needed this building as a theatre something would have been done long before now. This building has a history with regard to the artists that have appeared there but nobody had any interest in running it as a theatre since 1967. Therefore the last minute response is emotional rather that in anyway realistic. beatle2
  • Score: 15

8:00pm Fri 25 Jul 14

............ says...

I think this is actually really sad.

As the above comment states, this building has been empty for YEARS and no one has spoken up during this time. Then as soon as someone is willing to yes change it but restore it and spend millions of pounds on it people are unhappy?!

Look at a similarly beautiful building the West Pier, now rotting away in the sea... Have these people seen the pictures of the plans? it looks beautiful! The Odeon is horrible, the Marina is impracticle and the duke of yorks is small and more residential. How lovely to have a fresh restored beautiful building to revive the heart of Brighton and continue history?! How lovely to go to one of the local gorgeous restaurants then walk down the lane to the hippodrome?!

It seems as though you have far too much time on your hands and as said before- where were all of you years back?

And why is there so much focus on it being a theatre when it was so many other things?! Very odd. The theatre's we have in Brighton only fill 50% capacity so why would we even want another theatre?!

If this planning falls through, as you so want, how will all of you feel when this building falls down? I don't see any other planning proposals or someone else offering millions of pounds to restore this beautiful building?

I hope that common sense and realistic views prevail and the wool isn't pulled over people's eyes and wallets to this pointless fund.

Let's save the Hippodrome and restore it to be born again!
I think this is actually really sad. As the above comment states, this building has been empty for YEARS and no one has spoken up during this time. Then as soon as someone is willing to yes change it but restore it and spend millions of pounds on it people are unhappy?! Look at a similarly beautiful building the West Pier, now rotting away in the sea... Have these people seen the pictures of the plans? it looks beautiful! The Odeon is horrible, the Marina is impracticle and the duke of yorks is small and more residential. How lovely to have a fresh restored beautiful building to revive the heart of Brighton and continue history?! How lovely to go to one of the local gorgeous restaurants then walk down the lane to the hippodrome?! It seems as though you have far too much time on your hands and as said before- where were all of you years back? And why is there so much focus on it being a theatre when it was so many other things?! Very odd. The theatre's we have in Brighton only fill 50% capacity so why would we even want another theatre?! If this planning falls through, as you so want, how will all of you feel when this building falls down? I don't see any other planning proposals or someone else offering millions of pounds to restore this beautiful building? I hope that common sense and realistic views prevail and the wool isn't pulled over people's eyes and wallets to this pointless fund. Let's save the Hippodrome and restore it to be born again! ............
  • Score: 17

9:27pm Fri 25 Jul 14

jo_brown says...

Couldn't agree more with the comments above. All these people signing to "save" the building when in actual fact they are condemning it to the scrap heap! So stupid! Are they aware of this or are they just blindly signing without knowing all the facts? There's a fantastic once in a lifetime limited opportunity to save this building NOW; any delay will seriously jeapordise this final chance to restore the Hippodrome for the future.
Couldn't agree more with the comments above. All these people signing to "save" the building when in actual fact they are condemning it to the scrap heap! So stupid! Are they aware of this or are they just blindly signing without knowing all the facts? There's a fantastic once in a lifetime limited opportunity to save this building NOW; any delay will seriously jeapordise this final chance to restore the Hippodrome for the future. jo_brown
  • Score: 12

8:30am Sat 26 Jul 14

hovebat says...

I worked there for 17 years up until it's closure almost 8 years ago. a cinema is not ideal but it is the last chance to preserve the best parts of this building. 17.5 million is on the table and would prevent this wonderful building falling into complete disrepair. I bet they struggle to raise the £15,000. After that how will they raise the millions to save the Hippodrome.
It's been an Ice Rink, Circus, Theatre, music venue, TV Studio and Bingo Hall. The Hippodrome has always adapted to change and retained it's look I'm sure this grand old building will do so again.
I worked there for 17 years up until it's closure almost 8 years ago. a cinema is not ideal but it is the last chance to preserve the best parts of this building. 17.5 million is on the table and would prevent this wonderful building falling into complete disrepair. I bet they struggle to raise the £15,000. After that how will they raise the millions to save the Hippodrome. It's been an Ice Rink, Circus, Theatre, music venue, TV Studio and Bingo Hall. The Hippodrome has always adapted to change and retained it's look I'm sure this grand old building will do so again. hovebat
  • Score: 7

8:34am Sat 26 Jul 14

From beer to uncertainty says...

I think the people who donated money and/or signed the petition are a bit thick or have a personal interest in seeing the building bulldozed.
I think the people who donated money and/or signed the petition are a bit thick or have a personal interest in seeing the building bulldozed. From beer to uncertainty
  • Score: 8

1:38pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Bob_The_Ferret says...

Although the venue may have a proud history, no-one has thought it viable enough to work as a live venue for the last 40 years to put forward the investment needed to restore it as one.

The fact is that no-one else has come forward with money and plan for the premises until the current proposed development, and if this campaign causes the developers to walk away, the site will be left derelict to rot, and soon it will be replace by more soul-less high density pigeon loft flats.
Although the venue may have a proud history, no-one has thought it viable enough to work as a live venue for the last 40 years to put forward the investment needed to restore it as one. The fact is that no-one else has come forward with money and plan for the premises until the current proposed development, and if this campaign causes the developers to walk away, the site will be left derelict to rot, and soon it will be replace by more soul-less high density pigeon loft flats. Bob_The_Ferret
  • Score: 5

3:49pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Brightonresident89 says...

I am a Brightonian, I was born and breed in this small town now called a city.
This is the one of a handful pieces of history left in Brighton apart from the Pavilion. This is an incredible building that even the great HARRY HOUDINI himself once performed at, that alone should be reason enough to act! Not to mention the Beatles.... Why let this towns council and investors bastardize it? Personally I think if it is to be changed in any way an ice rink would be popular and profitable seeing as that is what it was originally built as in the 1800s... But my first choice would always be a live music venue/theatre, we are not a contender for live acts but with this building we could be! There are so many uses for this unique and historic building, and with the right support and promotion it could be a reality, especially if many would benefit from its use.
Bimm could use it, the great escape festival. It could be our own Apollo Theatre/Brixton Academy.

To those of you out there getting a pissy on because you have an issue with the people of Brighton protesting against the proposed plans. Maybe its because nobody bothered to ask what this town wanted in the first place. And because a majority don't wont to turn around one day and be surrounded by a carbon copy of every other city and town with no personality or history. You all should wake up! so what if it has been left sitting there doing nothing, better off sitting there doing nothing then be turned into a cinema of which would only put the FOUR other Cinema venues in Brighton out of business... Christ sake take a second to think before you jump on the band wagon.
And ask yourself this, Why do you love Brighton and what sets Brighton apart from everywhere else? Whats that I hear "Unique"?
Well not for bloody long it wont be at this rate....
I am a Brightonian, I was born and breed in this small town now called a city. This is the one of a handful pieces of history left in Brighton apart from the Pavilion. This is an incredible building that even the great HARRY HOUDINI himself once performed at, that alone should be reason enough to act! Not to mention the Beatles.... Why let this towns council and investors bastardize it? Personally I think if it is to be changed in any way an ice rink would be popular and profitable seeing as that is what it was originally built as in the 1800s... But my first choice would always be a live music venue/theatre, we are not a contender for live acts but with this building we could be! There are so many uses for this unique and historic building, and with the right support and promotion it could be a reality, especially if many would benefit from its use. Bimm could use it, the great escape festival. It could be our own Apollo Theatre/Brixton Academy. To those of you out there getting a pissy on because you have an issue with the people of Brighton protesting against the proposed plans. Maybe its because nobody bothered to ask what this town wanted in the first place. And because a majority don't wont to turn around one day and be surrounded by a carbon copy of every other city and town with no personality or history. You all should wake up! so what if it has been left sitting there doing nothing, better off sitting there doing nothing then be turned into a cinema of which would only put the FOUR other Cinema venues in Brighton out of business... Christ sake take a second to think before you jump on the band wagon. And ask yourself this, Why do you love Brighton and what sets Brighton apart from everywhere else? Whats that I hear "Unique"? Well not for bloody long it wont be at this rate.... Brightonresident89
  • Score: -1

5:36pm Tue 29 Jul 14

............ says...

I am also a Brightonian born and bred! And a realist! It is easy to criticise plans and decisions when you have not researched them!

Live Nation own this building so of course they have looked at the option of a music venue but due to residents and the old aspects of the building re sound proof, it was not feesible.

Yes it would be lovely as lots of other things, including a music venue like the roundhouse, but the reality is no one else is putting up 17.5 million £ to do something with this listed building. Yes it'd be great if Brighton got to choose what is done with buildings such as the Hippodrome but unfortunately that is not the way it works. There was a commitee of Brighton residents of all ages who voted 8:4 for this plan!

Let's not make Brighton even more "unique" for having another derelict broken lost venue like the West Pier!
I am also a Brightonian born and bred! And a realist! It is easy to criticise plans and decisions when you have not researched them! Live Nation own this building so of course they have looked at the option of a music venue but due to residents and the old aspects of the building re sound proof, it was not feesible. Yes it would be lovely as lots of other things, including a music venue like the roundhouse, but the reality is no one else is putting up 17.5 million £ to do something with this listed building. Yes it'd be great if Brighton got to choose what is done with buildings such as the Hippodrome but unfortunately that is not the way it works. There was a commitee of Brighton residents of all ages who voted 8:4 for this plan! Let's not make Brighton even more "unique" for having another derelict broken lost venue like the West Pier! ............
  • Score: 1

6:30pm Tue 29 Jul 14

jo_brown says...

Brightonresident89 wrote:
I am a Brightonian, I was born and breed in this small town now called a city.
This is the one of a handful pieces of history left in Brighton apart from the Pavilion. This is an incredible building that even the great HARRY HOUDINI himself once performed at, that alone should be reason enough to act! Not to mention the Beatles.... Why let this towns council and investors bastardize it? Personally I think if it is to be changed in any way an ice rink would be popular and profitable seeing as that is what it was originally built as in the 1800s... But my first choice would always be a live music venue/theatre, we are not a contender for live acts but with this building we could be! There are so many uses for this unique and historic building, and with the right support and promotion it could be a reality, especially if many would benefit from its use.
Bimm could use it, the great escape festival. It could be our own Apollo Theatre/Brixton Academy.

To those of you out there getting a pissy on because you have an issue with the people of Brighton protesting against the proposed plans. Maybe its because nobody bothered to ask what this town wanted in the first place. And because a majority don't wont to turn around one day and be surrounded by a carbon copy of every other city and town with no personality or history. You all should wake up! so what if it has been left sitting there doing nothing, better off sitting there doing nothing then be turned into a cinema of which would only put the FOUR other Cinema venues in Brighton out of business... Christ sake take a second to think before you jump on the band wagon.
And ask yourself this, Why do you love Brighton and what sets Brighton apart from everywhere else? Whats that I hear "Unique"?
Well not for bloody long it wont be at this rate....
Yeah.. Let's let this opportunity pass by and have another West Pier! Doh!
[quote][p][bold]Brightonresident89[/bold] wrote: I am a Brightonian, I was born and breed in this small town now called a city. This is the one of a handful pieces of history left in Brighton apart from the Pavilion. This is an incredible building that even the great HARRY HOUDINI himself once performed at, that alone should be reason enough to act! Not to mention the Beatles.... Why let this towns council and investors bastardize it? Personally I think if it is to be changed in any way an ice rink would be popular and profitable seeing as that is what it was originally built as in the 1800s... But my first choice would always be a live music venue/theatre, we are not a contender for live acts but with this building we could be! There are so many uses for this unique and historic building, and with the right support and promotion it could be a reality, especially if many would benefit from its use. Bimm could use it, the great escape festival. It could be our own Apollo Theatre/Brixton Academy. To those of you out there getting a pissy on because you have an issue with the people of Brighton protesting against the proposed plans. Maybe its because nobody bothered to ask what this town wanted in the first place. And because a majority don't wont to turn around one day and be surrounded by a carbon copy of every other city and town with no personality or history. You all should wake up! so what if it has been left sitting there doing nothing, better off sitting there doing nothing then be turned into a cinema of which would only put the FOUR other Cinema venues in Brighton out of business... Christ sake take a second to think before you jump on the band wagon. And ask yourself this, Why do you love Brighton and what sets Brighton apart from everywhere else? Whats that I hear "Unique"? Well not for bloody long it wont be at this rate....[/p][/quote]Yeah.. Let's let this opportunity pass by and have another West Pier! Doh! jo_brown
  • Score: 1

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