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Our Hippodrome Campaign
22 August 2014

The Secretary of State issued a holding direction to Brighton and Hove City Council on 28 July, ordering the council not to grant permission for the full planning application for the Hippodrome without specific authorisation

The Secretary of State issued a holding direction to Brighton and Hove City Council on 28 July, ordering the council not to grant permission for the full planning application for the Hippodrome without specific authorisation. This is to allow more than the usual 21 days in which to decide whether or not to call in the application. The council is still free to consider the application, ‘forming a view as to the merits or,’ in the wording of the direction, ‘if they are so minded, refusing permission’.

A decision by Brighton and Hove City Council about listing the Hippodrome as an asset of community value (ACV) is due by 3 September.

Call-in, press release, Brighton & Hove City Council
In a press release from Brighton & Hove City Council, planning committee chair Phelim Mac Cafferty said: ‘The scheme was approved at committee today but we now need to see whether the government wish to call it in.
‘In an ideal world we would have had an application to restore this building as a theatre—something that councillors at committee repeatedly said they would have preferred. The sad reality of the situation is that we didn’t have that today.’
See the press release here.
We understand that inviting the Secretary of State to call in a planning application is a very unusual move on the part of a local planning authority. It suggests that the council wants to be sure it is making the right decision before finally committing itself.

Fighting Fund
We have launched a Hope for Hippodrome fighting fund with a target of raising £15,000 in 20 days.

For details of how to donate, click here.

Appeal to Secretary of State
Sign the PETITION here.
Our Brighton Hippodrome and the Theatres Trust have asked the Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to call in the current planning application and take it out of the hands of Brighton and Hove City Council.
There are two main reasons:
1 The Hippodrome is of national importance and its fate should not be left to local councillors; and
2 the council is in an invidious and untenable position, having to decide the fate of a building that it sees as a threat to its own interests in the Dome complex.
There is no threat, of course. But by simply approving the cinema proposal and refusing to consider the theatre option it is inevitably going to appear to be acting in its own self-interest.
The council should be relieved of this compromising position. If the application is called in the Secretary of State will appoint an inspector to assess all the evidence, including the theatre option.

You can appeal too
You can help by writing to the Secretary of State. We have prepared a crib-sheet brief with all the details. It includes the key points to make, which you can cut and paste or use as the basis for your own letter.Download the brief here. As the PDF version has been problematic, a version that should rpesent no problems is available here.Instead of writing an email, you can submit your message directly via the DCLG website.

I do hope your campaign is successful.
I remember the Hippodrome very well from 1964 when, as an eighteen year old, I was working for Victor Hochhauser with the Moiseyev Folk Dance Company from Russia. We played a three week season at the Royal Albert Hall immediately following the Proms and then a five week tour which I think started at Brighton. Certainly the Brighton Hippodrome was on the tour and the week there was the last full week ever at the theatre before it closed down in October 1964.
It was a wonderful theatre with a great atmosphere and I could never understand why it was going to close. From memory, I believe it had a bigger capacity than the Theatre Royal and certainly a good sized stage as well. Brighton with its rich cultural heritage needs its Hippodrome and it would be an absolute tragedy if your wonderful initiative was not given the support it deserves to succeed.
Good luck with everything you are doing.
Best wishes.
Raymond Gubbay

Please, please. please. do not take the easy way out and allow this strikingly original and glorious theatre to become another soulless multiplex cinema. In the summer of 1964 I appeared on the bill there for several weeks along with the brilliantly accomplished magician David Nixon and skiffle king Lonnie Donegan.
At the time I had engaged the eminent lawyer David Jacobs, who lived in Brighton, to defend me on a speeding charge. Yes, bit of a speed freak then in my silver grey MGB Roadster. DJ was too busy to discuss the case in London and suggested I go to his house between shows on the Saturday. I did and over high tea and cake was introduced to his weekend house guest, Judy Garland. My appearing at The Hippodrome therefore has an added special memory.
Historical theatres such as this reflect our theatrical heritage from Shakespeare to music hall and on into the great days of variety. Imperative that it be restored & saved.
In faith,
Mark Wynter.