CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed a council plan for Brighton’s old town which gives hope for the future of Brighton’s historic Hippodrome.

The Grade II* listed building, which hosted acts such as The Beatles in its century of use, has been boarded up since 2007.

However, a new council conservation plan has given hope to groups campaigning to save the theatre.

The plan, currently under consultation, states that any plan submitted by the site’s owners must preserve the building’s original function as a theatre

The council’s Old Town Conservation Area management plan, which has been published and is currently under consultation, states that the Hippodrome is the ‘single most significant’ vacant site in the area and is ‘the key’ to revitalising Middle Street and the wider Old Town area.

Because of this, the plan states that for any plan to be found acceptable, it must preserve the building’s function as a performance space.

Significantly, the plan also states that if positive progress is not made within a reasonable time frame, the council will consider producing a plan to be implemented for the site themselves.

David Fisher, director of Brighton Hippodrome Community Interest Company, said: “We are very pleased at this latest development,, it is what we have been calling for, for some time.

“This building really is an important piece of Brighton’s history and it needs to be preserved.

“I would hate to see it become another West Pier.”

In a joint statement released on facebook, Save Our Hippodrome and Our Brighton Hippodrome campaign groups said: “We are so used to bad news it slipped under the radar.

“This is a very progressive stance from the council and also puts pressure on the new owners to come up with a viable plan.”

Brighton Hippodrome was designed by renowned Architect Frank Matcham and built in 1897, and has played host to stars such as Harry Houdini, Laurel and Hardy, Max Miller, Gracie Fields, Dusty Springfield, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in its 121-year history.

However, earlier this year the venue was named top of the Theatres Trust’s most ‘at risk’ theatres in the UK for the fifth successive year.

It was purchased in late 2017 by HIPP Investment, a Gateshead-registered company.

In a statement, HIPP director Aized Sheikh said: “We are looking to re-instate this wonderful theatre to its former glory alongside plans for the development of a new 80 bed five-star boutique hotel and serviced apartments.