A VICTORIAN theatre where the Beatles once performed has submitted plans for a new roof - as dry rot continues to spread.

Work to restore Brighton Hippodrome to its former glory began after it was bought by family-run company Matsim Properties last year.

However, as work to repair the Grade II listed building continues, decorative plaster ceilings have collapsed and dry rot is spreading throughout the venue.

According to Matsim Properties, it is impossible to prevent any further water penetration because of the design and deterioration of the roof structure.

The roof’s steelwork has rusted through and any work on recovering the roof will cause "excessive vibration and undoubtedly bring down further if not all of the decorative ceiling," the company said.

The Argus: Brighton Hippodrome is under repair. Credit: David Streeter Photography.comBrighton Hippodrome is under repair. Credit: David Streeter Photography.com

To overcome this, Matsim has submitted plans for providing a new roof structure over the auditorium, which would allow crews to repair the ceiling before removing the defective roof coverings.

A Matism spokesman told The Argus: "This work must be carried out in the summer months as it is unlikely that the plaster decoration will survive another winter of water penetration.

"Comments of support will hopefully encourage Brighton and Hove Council to deal with the application expediently.

"It is essential that the custom fabricated steel beams are installed this summer.

"Then, just as Frank Matcham oversaw the installation of the plasterwork in just two months in the Summer of 1901, Matsim can install a new roof covering."

The building was built as an ice rink in 1897 before it was converted into a circus theatre four years later designed by renowned architect Frank Matcham.

This year, it featured on a list of 31 venues at significant or immediate risk of being lost, as the Covid-19 pandemic left a “devastating” impact on the UK theatre industry.

The Theatres Trust, which put the list together, saw an “emerging trend” during the coronavirus crisis where vacant theatre buildings put up for sale by private owners.

But as work continues, people are being given the opportunity to attend scheduled, Covid secure visits to the site.

From May 19 until May 21, people can view initial thoughts and ideas about the Hippodrome’s future.

Groups of up to five will be allowed at any one time and sessions will be around 15 minutes.

Interested parties should visit https://brighton-hippodrome.co.uk to secure a slot to view initial concepts and view the auditorium.