Detailed discussions are continuing on the restoration of the Grade II* listed Brighton Hippodrome. The applications are currently expected to be decided at Planning Committee in October or early November, subject to all the required information being provided.
The site has a long history as an entertainment venue having been first built as an indoor ice rink in 1896/97. The Hippodrome has undergone some major alterations over the years and was used as a live music venue until 1964. In 1969 it reopened as a bingo hall before falling into disuse in 2007.
Planning and Listed Building consents have been granted in recent years for the new roof covering to the auditorium and the clearance of dry rot from the building to assist its restoration.
Council planning officers are now working with developer Matsim Properties and organisations including Historic England and the highways authorities to address issues raised in the consultation on the two current applications, and to ensure all the information is available for the committee to determine them.
A full planning application and an application for a listed building consent have been submitted. They include not just the Hippodrome building (52-58 Middle Street), but also the adjacent Hippodrome House (51 Middle Street) and the rear former service yard which fronts on to Ship Street.
The applications include:
- renovation of the auditorium as a performance space with bar/café;
- a new 3 to 7 storey apart-hotel building in the rear service yard, with retail at ground floor level;
- conversion of the existing Hippodrome Fly Tower to create additional rehearsal / performance space; and
- conversion of the adjacent Hippodrome House to provide a bar and members club.
Amendments to the scheme were received in November 2022 and again in February and March of 2023. The apart-hotel has been reduced at the rear of the site and the offices originally proposed for the Hippodrome’s rear fly tower removed to be replaced with the rehearsal space.
The key planning considerations are the impact on the historic building in a conservation area, the impact on residents, highways matters and operational viability.
Discussions with the developer about the apart-hotel design have taken place, given its location close to a listed building and in the Old Town Conservation Area. We have also undertaken two rounds of consultation with neighbouring residents, the general public and statutory bodies, and further consultations on the applications are ongoing.
A nationally important listed building
Councillor Birgit Miller, Culture Lead and Goldsmid Ward Councillor, said:
“The Hippodrome is a nationally important listed building and it’s a great shame that it has been closed for so long. Its renovation and development would have a lasting significance for the building and for the city.
“Planning proposals dealing with such a historic building are very complex. Statutory consultees such as Historic England and National Highways need to be satisfied with the proposals and our Planning Committee has to have all the information it needs to be sure that the proposals will provide lasting benefits while being considerate to the people who live around it.
“At this stage some key information remains outstanding and is required for the planning applications to be decided. We are working with the developers on this and hope the applications will be heard at Planning Committee in the next few months.”
You can find out more about the development of the Hippodrome site on our website.