The company taking over Brighton Hippodrome is pledging to make it one of Britain's top music venues.

Academy Music Group (AMG) struck a deal last week to take a 35-year lease on the Middle Street building, which has stood since 1897.

The company runs the Carling Academy in Brixton and the Shepherd's Bush Empire, as well as venues in Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.

It bought the lease on the Hippodrome for an undisclosed fee after months of wrangling.

Staff hope to meet officers from English Heritage and Brighton and Hove City Council this week to begin planning for the months of refurbishment ahead.

They aim to give a rough opening date after inspecting the condition of the Grade II listed building.

No estimate of the cost of the renovation work is available, though it is expected to run into seven figures.

AMG spokeswoman Louise Kovacs said the operation to restore the theatre will mirror work carried out in other cities.

She said: "Recently AMG opened new venues in Glasgow and Newcastle, both former listed buildings in danger of falling by the wayside.

"AMG invested in these properties with multi-million pound refurbishment programmes to present top-quality front-of-house and backstage facilities, and a year-round thrilling diary of rock and pop events."

The Hippodrome closed last August after nearly 40 years as a bingo hall.

It is regarded as one of the city's architectural gem because of its richly decorated ceiling, rococo features and palm court-style bar.

Originally an ice rink, in 1902 architect Frank Matcham converted the site into a joint circus and variety theatre.

It became Brighton's top venue, playing host to household names including Sandra Bernhardt, Laurel and Hardy, Max Miller, Vera Lynn, Judy Garland and Buster Keaton.

In the 1960s the Rolling Stones and The Beatles both graced the Hippodrome stage, but the venue closed in 1965.

AMG chief executive officer John Northcote said: "Brighton is a great city and we are looking forward to working with the local authorities and English heritage to welcome back the site as a quality entertainment venue, restoring and retaining as many of its original features to the grandeur of its early years.

"AMG knows how important great venues are to the local music scene so artistes at the larger end of the market can tour in key cities, not to mention looking to develop platforms and opportunities for local bands to play."

Councillor Averil Older, who has campaigned for live entertainment to return to the Hippodrome, said: "I'm thrilled the building has been saved and is going to be renovated and turned back into something similar to its former use."