A DERELICT historic theatre has topped a national at-risk list for the sixth year in a row.

Brighton Hippodrome has again been named Britain’s most at-risk theatre by the Theatres Trust.

The theatre has been closed for four years and is currently owned by developer Hipp Investments.

The firm hopes to convert the 19th century building into a hotel and spa complex.

But Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said it was being “left to rot” .

She demanded Brighton and Hove City Council issue a repair order to save further damage to the building.

“I’m really concerned that it will deteriorate even further if it isn’t brought back into use very soon,” she said.

“The Hippodrome needs a viable future and it could have one if it were restored to life as a lyric theatre again, breathing new life into the area around Middle Street.

“This wonderful old building, which has contributed so much to the life of Brighton and could do so again, is being left to rot.”

The theatre opened in 1897 as an ice skating rink.

Four years later it was converted into a circus by London Hippodrome designer Frank Matcham.

The Theatres Trust said the building is the “finest surviving example of its type in the country”.

But last year Hipp Investments announced plans to convert it into a hotel and spa with serviced apartments.

This prompted “grave concern” from the trust amid worries the development would prevent the building from being used as a theatre.

Instead Brighton MP Ms Lucas has backed not-for-profit firm Brighton Hippodrome CIC, which is raising funds to buy the building and reopen it as a theatre.

“Our city currently lacks a theatre big enough to host larger shows and performances and this would fill that gap,” the Green MP said.

“It is so clear to me that the Hippodrome is a hugely valuable local asset whose re-opening would bring so many benefits to the local economy and community, helping to kickstart much-needed investment into the area. Letting it deteriorate further still would be unforgivable.”

But a Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said Hipp Investments still aims to develop the site.

“We have been in discussion with the owners along with their architects, together with Historic England, and understand that the owners remain keen to progress to a planning application,” the spokesman said.

“However, the owners have been advised there is further work that needs to be done before they are in a position to make a formal submission.

“We remain in contact and expect to hold further meetings with them in due course.”