Residents may be aware that a local family-run company called Matsim is trying to restore and renovate the Hippodrome in Middle Street, Brighton.
The planning application for this work was submitted in July 2022.
Since then, the only work that the company has been allowed to carry out is the repair and restoration of the roof and ceiling of the building.
This alone cost near to £6 million of private investment but is wonderful to see, not least because it saved the roof from total collapse.
The overall planning application remains stalled, however, in the council’s planning department.
Various outside agencies such as the Theatres Trust and Historic England are being repeatedly asked for their views when they neither own the building nor have any practical involvement in its restoration.
While I accept that these organisations have a right to submit their views on the planning application, they should not be allowed to dominate the process in the way they apparently have.
This is a local iconic building and local people should have the final say on the application via the councillors who sit on the Planning Committee – and this application should now be heard as a matter of public urgency.
This delay is having a potentially catastrophic impact on the condition of the building due to dampness and dry rot.
And there is a real danger that the procrastination within the planning department risks the very fabric of the Hippodrome becoming beyond repair.
This would be a disaster, both for a much loved and fondly remembered local landmark and also for the many residents who could have enjoyed the many events that the Hippodrome would have offered – at a time when music venues are closing at an alarming rate.
There is currently an online petition headed Save Brighton Hippodrome on Change.org if people want to add their voices to the many thousands who have already been part of the campaign to save this magnificent building.
Councillor Peter Atkinson is an Independent member of Brighton and Hove City Council.