Politician Caroline Lucas has warned that Brighton Hippodrome has been “left to rot” and has urged the local council to issue an order to prevent it falling further into disrepair.
The grade II*-listed venue, which has been out of use for more than a decade, topped the Theatres Trust’s list of theatres most at risk for the fifth year running in 2020.
In 2017, the building was taken over by the newly created Hipp Investments, which announced plans in January 2019 to refurbish the theatre and create a hotel and spa on the site.
However, Lucas warned in a press statement that the building had been out of use since 2007 and is “slowly, tragically falling to bits”.
She said: “This wonderful old building, which has contributed so much to the life of Brighton and could do so again, is being left to rot. I’m really concerned that it will deteriorate even further if it isn’t brought back into use very soon.”
Lucas has recently met with campaign group Brighton Hippodrome CIC, which is hoping to buy the Hippodrome to restore the building and reopen it as a commercial theatre.
She said: “There are some great examples of theatres being run by charitable trusts, with some of the funding being provided by council applications to the Public Works Loan Board, so following my meeting with campaigners I’m going back to the council to ask about the support they might be able to consider to enable us to do something similar here.
“I’ve also asked the council to issue a repair order to prevent the building continuing to fall further into disrepair.”
A spokeswoman from Brighton and Hove City Council said: “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.
“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.”