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Waverley Council approves demolition of Farnham’s Redgrave Theatre

The Redgrave Theatre in Farnham, Surrey. Photo: Theatres Trust

Farnham’s Redgrave Theatre looks set to be demolished after Waverley Borough Council granted listed-building consent to knock down the theatre for the sixth time.

The grade II-listed venue, which was built in the early 1970s and closed in 1998, is at the centre of plans to regenerate the wider area into housing, shops and restaurants.

Planning permission for the full redevelopment was granted in 2009, but work has yet to begin.

Crest Nicholson, which is developing the area, has so far requested demolition of the theatre six times – calling for renewed permission each time consent expires.

In a council meeting about the proposed demolition, Laurence Carter, speaking on behalf of the Farnham Buildings Preservation Trust and the Farnham Theatre Association, described the recent application to demolish the theatre as being “premature”.

He added that a business plan to revive the Redgrave in conjunction with a cinema group was being developed and could be formalised later this year.

Anne Cooper, chair of the Farnham Theatre Association, also said doubts had been cast about the current plans’ viability.

“The FTA believes that this theatre would be viable and should be a great asset for the town. We want to bring the borough council a welcome alternative from the heart of this long-stalled regeneration project,” she said.

Bruce McArthur, project director at Crest Nicholson, said the key consideration was “securing viable and sustainable long-term use” for the premises on which the Redgrave currently sits.

He added: “We believe the current proposals offer the best solution.”