Talks on plans to re-open Brighton Hippodrome

Plans to bring a much-loved venue back into use are moving forward.

Brighton and Hove City Council officials have revealed the owners of the Hippodrome in Middle Street, Brighton, have had meetings with both planning and licensing officers.

The Grade II* former ice rink, circus, theatre and bingo hall has been empty since 2007.

But Live Nation, one of the backers of the Academy Music Group, wants to invest more than £9 million to turn it into a live music venue.

Councillors on a town hall scrutiny committee have backed the plans adding they believe there should be more places in the city to enjoy live music.

Green councillor Christopher Hawtree said: “There are so many performers who cannot fill a stadium, but welcome relatively intimate venues.

“Why pay £50 to see somebody as a speck which is also on a big screen?

“I reckon that Brighton could make a virtue of smaller places."

The issue was discussed by members of the local authority's tourism and culture scrutiny committee.

Culture commissioner Paula Murray said: “(Live Nation) are a very experienced big organisation. If they cannot make it work then I do not know who can.”

In reply to the councillors' concerns, Brighton Festival and Brighton Dome director Andrew Comben said a specialist musical promoter had been hired by the Dome to increase the number of performers coming to the city on tour.He added that despite the city not having the larger scale venues as other cities, a number of groups wanted to visit the city due to its reputation.

The Argus contacted the Academy Music Group but it did not respond by the time of going to print.

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4:06pm Mon 3 Oct 11

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