Hippodrome exterior


The CIC has spent seven years developing and proving the case for restoration as a theatre, working with the Theatres Trust and keeping Brighton & Hove City Council and Historic England up-to-date with our proposals along the way. Our plans can be seen here.
      The CIC shared all its plans for the theatre with Matsim Properties and would be more than happy to provide its support to achieve a workable vision for the Hippodrome as a major venue.

These are large files in PDF form and may take a few moments to open in a new window, but worth waiting for.
They were submitted to BHCC and Historic England for pre-application assessment and were generally favourably reviewed. You can read their comments here:
Brighton & Hove City Council planning department
Historic England

Business plan
This is the key document, which demonstrates that a restored Hippodrome would be not only viable but sustainable in the medium-to-long-term.
      This version of the business case is based on the most complete restoration as a large-scale theatre, including fitting out to the highest current standards, including a full refit of the fly-tower. It also includes a new-build studio theatre in the yard, building out an extension around Hippodrome House and a hotel or apartment block on the upper floors of Hippodrome House and above the service yard, retaining essential vehicle access to the stage from Ship Street. Without the studio, the extension and the fly-tower refit, the cost of the project would not be significantly grearter than the cost that will be incurred for the current applications, which are generally similar.
      Obviously, as this draft was written over two years ago it would now be somewhat different. Costs have risen in that period both for restoration and operation.

History/heritage statement
This is the most comprehensive and accurate account of the history of the Hippodrome. The official Historic England listing (opens in new window) includes a number of factual errors.
• The conversion from circus to variety theatre in 1902 was carried out not by Frank Matcham but by a second major theatre architect, Bertie Crewe.
• The two houses to the north were not added in 1939. They were associated with the skating rink in 1897. This error may have arisen from a misunderstanding of work carried out in Hippodrome House in 1939, including the addition of the so-called Venetian Bridge.
• As a result there is minimal detail about Hippodrome House—which pre-dates the Royal Pavilion—and its significance is not explored.
      We have pointed out these errors to Historic England but were told it would not be appropriate to amend the entry while a planning application is pending!

Transport strategy
Issues about access, particularly to the service yard in Ship Street, are addressed.

Community engagement
The CIC was formed out of the campaign to sae the theatre and is rooted in the community. This document shows the activity undertaken since the campaign began in 2013 and just how much the Hippoodrome is treasured by the people of Brighton & Hove and beyond.

      Obviously, we believe the Hippodrome is still a theatre and it would be best if it could remain one—in the jargon, the 'optimal viable use'—a star in Brighton's entertainment and cultural firmament, which has had such strong approval from the people of Brighton & Hove and beyond.
      However, any proposed use of a Grade II* heritage asset must be justified and supported with evidence of viability and sustainability. These applications do not provide that evidence.

      Watch for more news on this website.


• History
The background as a heritage building explains why this is still such an important theatre.


• The future: theatre
What we have been working on for six years: full restoration as a large-scale theatre.
Read our business plan and other evidence for a viable and sustainable theatre.


• The future: alternative
What the current owners propose.
Read why we have objected to the current planning and listed building consent applications.

We are grateful for support from
Historic England logo     HLF logo     AHF logo   Theatres Trust logo
CRF banner   Pilgrim Trust   Swire Charitable Trust   Regency Society logo   

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Page updated 15 October 2022