Developers have moved a step closer to converting a historic theatre into an eight screen cinema complex.

Brighton and Hove City Council‘s planning committee voted eight to four in favour of plans to convert the famous Brighton Hippodrome.

A last minute move by committee chair Phelim MacCafferty to defer the decision was rejected by fellow committee members.

However, the decision can still be called in by the Secretary of State. A decision on that process will be made in a matter of weeks.

Members of the Our Brighton Hippodrome campaign, who want the site retained for live performances, said they will lobby the secretary of state.

Councillors at the planning meeting this afternoon criticised the modern-design of the glass fronted extensions to the proposed cinema, claiming it was out-of-keeping with the area.

But they feared that without the cinema the famed grade II* listed building which once hosted the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Max Miller would be lost completely.

Green councillor Ian Davey supported the proposal, saying the redevelopment would “halt the decline” of the building and the area around Ship Street and Middle Street.

Conservative councillor Geoff Wells said he feared if the proposal was rejected now, it would be another seven years for another valid proposal and by that time the Hippodrome would be “beyond repair”.

David Fisher, of Our Brighton Hippodrome, said they were “disappointed but not entirely downhearted”.