David Fisher

You would think the council might make an effort to support plans that would bring the Hippodrome back to life as a theatre, wouldn’t you? Not a chance.

The truth is that for a long time there has been a strong faction within the council that resists the very idea of restoring the Hippodrome.

This is a city that is supposed to understand the importance of cultural industries. No more theatres, thank you. Not even one the city needs, one of major national importance, one over 14,000 people say they want as a theatre.

Restoration of the Hippodrome would be a strong contender for support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The council sees this as competition for its own bids for Heritage Lottery Fund money.

The council’s position is therefore compromised because of vested interests.

No point in saying that the city would regret the loss of the Hippodrome. That’s blatantly obvious.

Yet can we assume the current scheme will go ahead? Cinema admissions were down eight per cent in the first nine months of 2014—the sharpest decline since 1984.

Would you sign a 20-year lease for a cinema in a converted listed building in the face of overwhelming hostility from a community that wants to keep its theatre?

Given time, the market may improve. Redevelopment at King Alfred, Hove Square and Churchill Square provide opportunities for a multiplex.

Residents of Brighton - and especially Hove - would welcome a state-of-the art Vue cinema in one of those other places. But not at the Hippodrome.

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