fbpx
Major organisations get together to save derelict Hippodrome Theatre!
Feature Image Credit: Derbyshire Live

Major organisations get together to save derelict Hippodrome Theatre!

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Century-old building could get new lease of life.

Several key Derby organisations are pooling their expertise to try to save the derelict former HippodromeTheatre in Green Lane.

The building, which was built in 1914 as a variety theatre and converted into a cinema in 1930, was sold to developer Christopher Anthony in 2007 who, the following year, ordered work on the building which led to its partial demolition.

Derek Latham, chairman of the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust (DHBT) – one of the partner organisations – says there is a very good chance that the combined resources and efforts of the partnership will bring the building back into use.

He said: “It is very early days, but the fact that everyone has met and a plan has formed is very encouraging.

“Everyone has a part to play and together I am sure we can achieve something.”

Image Credit: Derbyshire Live
The other partners are Derby City Council, the University of Derby, Historic England and the Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust. Mr Latham said: “It is planned that the city council will approach the current owners to see if it can but the building in a back-to-back agreement, which would see the DHBT take it on. “There would only be compensation money on the table and if this is a sticking point then we are looking at possibly obtaining a compulsory purchase order. “You never know the owners may wish to repair it, although they have had long enough and not done anything.” The building which is now owned by Planet International, has been deteriorating slowly over the past 10 years and a serious fire in 2015 led many people to believe the building did not have a future. But Mr Latham said that it was unlikely that initially the theatre would be restored to its former glory but there would still be a chance for it to be done at a later date. He said: “In the first place, we would look to restore the frontage and the entrances, which have been the least badly damaged areas of the building. “We would not restore the auditorium as such, but would put a roof on the building and effectively create a huge barn – it would be like a village hall in the city centre. “It could be used by university students some of the time to create arts spaces, student exhibition areas, drama spaces and meeting areas. The uses are endless and also evolutionary. “It would work really well with the development of the Becketwell area nearby and compliment the Assembly Rooms and Guildhall, as and when they reopen.” The Hippodrome closed finally as a bingo hall and was sold for £375,000 13 years ago. Mr Anthony notified the council that he planned to knock it down but permission for this was refused. Mr Anthony, was ordered to repair the famous grade two-listed building by Derby City Council. But, during the course of the work, beginning on March 28, 2008, the roof and walls of the Green Lane building were damaged. Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust was formed with the aim of making it a working theatre again and money has been raised towards the project. The trust had previously approached the city council about purchasing the former theatre, but in 2018 the council said it was not planning to buy it as part of its portfolio of properties in the area and it still stands by that position.
Image Credit: Derbyshire Live

Mr Latham added: “The proposition becomes more attractive with the other organisations involved such as Historic England, with its extensive technical expertise and funding, which will be able to support purchasing the building.

“Also Historic England worked with ourselves and Amber Valley Borough Council to secure the future of the listed Wingfield Station, which had been derelict for decades and was secured under a compulsory purchase and which we are now taking forward as a restoration project.”

Derby Civic Society has also thrown its support behind the Hippodrome partnership and a letter to the University of Derby said: “We welcome the combined allied efforts of the partnership and hope it will aid the city councl to fulfill its obligations to an at risk listed grade II building and the Green Lane Conservation Area.

“The Hippodrome is on the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust’s list of top 12 historic buildings at risk in Derbyshire, which need to be rescued and put back into good use.

“We are entirely prepared to stand full square behind the partnership in its efforts to acquire and rehabilitate this property for an appropriate re-use.”

Image Credit: Derbyshire Live

Mr Latham added that condition surveys and a business plan still needed to be drawn up and that it could take two to three years before much progress on the project could be seen.

He said: “It took a similar amount of time to acquire Wingfield Station, but now we are ready to start work on its restoration this year.”

Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council said: “The council has begun a process of talking to the Hippodrome partnership about their proposals and options for regeneration.

“They have some recent experience of tackling an at risk property not in their ownership with some success.

“We look forward to working with them to help them achieve their aspirations for the building.”

Credit for this article goes to Derbyshire Live.

We Are Derbyshire is a small and growing organisation that aims to become the hub for all Derbyshire goings on, we would love it if you visited our Homepage, which you can do by clicking HERE.

You might also like...

Categories

Leave a Reply

Close Menu