Council orders study into Hippodrome's future as a theatre
POTENTIAL uses for Derby's former Hippodrome theatre will be explored as part of another study into its future.
Past studies by supporters of the grade two listed building have suggested turning it back into a working theatre.
This time it is Derby City Council which has said it will pay towards the cost of an independent study which will have to look at whether the building has a future which stacks up financially.
Councillor Hardyal Dhindsa, cabinet member for planning, environment and public protection, said the council would not pay more than £30,000 towards the cost of the feasibility study and design works.
The study is likely to cost £30,000, of which the council said it would pay half and English Heritage will fund the remainder. Of the additional £4,500 design costs, English Heritage has agreed to pay 80%.
The council has previously been reluctant to spend more money on the damaged building because it has already paid more than £150,000 during the past five years on court action against the site's private owner and emergency repairs.
Now, Mr Dhindsa said the authority needed to know once and for all whether the building had a viable future.
He said: "What we need is an assessment of what's feasible and what's not."
It will look at possible uses of the building and the costs of bringing it back into use.
The property, in Green Lane, which was once a theatre and then bingo hall, was damaged in 2008 during work ordered on it by its owner, London developer Christopher Anthony.
Later plans by Mr Anthony to turn it into a car park and flats were refused permission.
A group of supporters of the former theatre set up the Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust to try to raise funds towards returning the building back to public ownership and getting it back into use as a theatre.
But it has not been able to raise the money to buy the building itself and wants the city council to use its powers to compulsory purchase it instead.
Joan Travis, chairman of the restoration trust, said: "I'm delighted the council is now doing something."