Streatham Hill Theatre in south London has been listed as an asset of community value – offering the at-risk venue additional protection from development.
Theatre conservation body the Theatres Trust has hailed the move by Lambeth Council as a “great achievement” for a campaign group fighting to return live performance to the Grade II-listed venue, which has been dormant since 2017.
Streatham Hill Theatre is on the Theatres Trust Theatres at Risk Register 2018 due to fears that its current owner, Pollmount Ltd, may have plans to redevelop it.
However, any building listed as an asset of community value is offered additional protection, meaning that if the building is put up for sale the local community can request six months to raise funds to bid for it.
The trust said: “Not only does this decision recognise the theatre’s important cultural and social role in its community, it is a sign of the council’s support to return the theatre to an arts and performance use, continuing Streatham’s path of becoming a more attractive and exciting place for residents and visitors.”
A statement published online by campaign group Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre, which had been calling for the theatre to be made a asset of community value, said: “The Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre would like to see the theatre returned to arts, culture and performance use to further the social well-being and social interest of the community.
“The building would make a great hub for Streatham’s art and cultural community and a base for developing artists and organisations, where people can participate, meet and network.”
Streatham Hill Theatre was opened in 1929 as the Streatham Hill Playhouse. After being bombed in the Second World War, it reopened in 1950. It became a bingo hall in 1962, which closed in 2017.