Campaigners have had one route to saving a beloved theatre dashed.

Our Brighton Hippodrome campaigners have received a rejection letter from Brighton and Hove City Council rejecting their nomination for the Brighton Hippodrome to be listed as an asset of community value.

The group, which is campaigning for the chance to restore the Hippodrome as a theatre, hoped that the nomination would be successful as the Middle Street theatre had been key to the community for the majority of its 117 year history.

Our Brighton Hippodrome said in a statement that the council decided that because the building has not been in use for the past seven years, it had not served the community "in the recent past".

The group say the measure of “recent past” is not properly defined in the act and said they will be raising the issue of the lack of a definition with the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Under the asset of community value, community groups are given six months leeway to raise funds to match the value for any premises where community use could be at risk.

However under the rules, landowners are not obliged to accept the community group bid.

Planning permission to convert the Hippodrome into a eight-screen cinema and restaurant site was granted in July by the city council.

The final decision on the application lies with the communities minister Eric Pickles who is expected to make a decision whether to “call-in” the proposal for a public inquiry later this month.