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Hopes for Derby Hippodrome fade without ‘realistic’ offers

The Hippodrome pictured in 2008. Photo: Theatres Trust The Hippodrome pictured in 2008. Photo: Theatres Trust
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Derby Hippodrome could continue to be derelict for several years, the site’s manager has warned, quashing hopes for the building’s return to cultural use.

The Hippodrome, which in March fell victim to its third major fire in seven years and has lain empty since 2007, could continue deteriorating as no “realistic or genuine” offers have been made, project manager Ian Davidson told the Derby Telegraph.

Davidson is project-managing the premises on behalf its owners, Blake Finance, which took control of the grade II-listed building in 2015.

“We have always been willing to sell it but we have not had any realistic or genuine offers. One of the things we’re waiting for, like the whole economy, is to see how Brexit pans out. The city has got to work together, in my view, if we’re going to find a solution to this,” Davidson said.

He added: “If nobody comes forward with an offer that is both realistic and genuine and one where planning permission will be granted, then in my view, it will possibly stay there like that for years.”

In 2014, campaign group Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust called on the council to buy the building by using a compulsory purchase order – which would bypass consent of the owner – and then lease it to the trust. However, this plan was rejected by Derby City Council shortly after.

Prior to Blake Finance’s control, the Hippodrome was owned by Christopher Anthony, who had expressed a desire to see the building torn down and in 2010 pleaded guilty to demolishing part of it two years earlier.

Fires have taken place in 2008 and 2009, as well as in March of this year, which an investigation by local police and fire services concluded was deliberate.

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