Sussex

Vue Cinema withdraws from Brighton Hippodrome project

Artist's impression of redeveloped hippodrome Image copyright Alaska Developments
Image caption Developers planned to turn the Grade II-listed theatre into a £35m eight-screen Vue cinema

The future of one of Brighton's oldest theatres is in doubt after developers withdrew from a project to turn it into a £35m cinema and restaurant complex.

Plans were approved last year to turn the Hippodrome into an eight-screen Vue cinema with four restaurants.

Vue said the scheme had now been sold to another landlord which would not be proceeding with the application.

The Our Brighton Hippodrome campaign group said it was pleased the multiplex cinema scheme was not going ahead.

Vue first revealed it was pulling out of plans to convert the Grade II* listed building in Middle Street in a letter to the campaigners, who opposed the scheme put forward by Alaska Development Consultants.

Restoration

Vue has not revealed who the new owner is.

"We have been trying to find out," said David Fisher, campaign manager for Out Brighton Hippodrome.

"This really does make a theatre the default option now.

"The alternative would be converting the site into offices and retail, which would fall foul of the national planning policy framework.

"As a charity we would be able to raise money for the restoration, which would cost £17m to £18m.

"It would be a major theatre for the south east region."

Image copyright Alaska Development Consultants
Image caption Vue said it had sold the site on to a new landlord which would not proceed with the cinema development

English Heritage previously said the cinema proposals were likely to represent a "final chance to save the Hippodrome", which has been empty for 10 years.

But campaigners, including The Victorian Society, opposed the scheme saying they would rather the building remained in use as a theatre.

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