A LARGE derelict venue has been saved from decay after it was bought yesterday.

The Brighton Hippodrome in Middle Street has been sold to the Lambor family, who run Matsim Properties in Brighton.

They have committed to saving the building from further deterioration and have plans to restore the auditorium.

The Grade II-listed building, which was previously owned by Hipp Investments, has not been used since 2006.

Last year Hipp Investments revealed proposals to convert the Hippodrome into a hotel, spa and serviced apartments complex - plans which were deemed “inappropriate” by the Theatres Trust. Earlier this year the venue topped the trust’s 'Theatres at Risk' list for the sixth year in a row.

Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas said: “I have watched the disintegrating state of the Hippodrome over the past few years with real concern. It is a gem of a building which was being left to rot.

“I’m pleased to see Matsim Properties make a commitment to rescue the building from further decay and that they have ambitions to restore the auditorium.

“As Matsim have connections to the area, I very much hope that they recognise the community value of the building, and I will be writing to them directly to learn more about their plans.

“This is particularly difficult time for all arts and entertainment venues with many of our existing theatres struggling because of Covid restrictions.

“All of them, including the Hippodrome, need long term champions.

“They are vital community spaces, and the community’s voice needs to be heard when their future is being decided.”

The Brighton Hippodrome was built as an ice rink in 1897.

In 1901 it was converted into a circus, designed by renowned architect Frank Matcham, before being redesigned again as a theatre the following year by Bertie Crewe.

The Hippodrome has played host to a variety of stars, including illusionist Harry Houdini, comedians Laurel and Hardy, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

The venue was forced to close due to financial difficulties in 1964 and was reopened as a Mecca Bingo hall in 1967, before closing again in 2006.