Blow to hopes of rein­car­nat­ing old Hip­po­drome the­atre

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

HOPES of a Hip­po­drome crushed.

A scheme to re­open the Hip­po­drome as a the­atre and arts cen­tre have been re­jected by coun­cil of­fi­cers in favour of turn­ing the site into a con­trol cen­tre for driver­less ve­hi­cles.

It is a huge blow to the hopes of the Dud­ley Hip­po­drome Com­mu­nity Group which cam­paigned to save the jazz era venue and it could be the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin of the build­ing that first opened in 1938.

A re­port to Dud­ley Coun­cil’s cab­i­net is rec­om­mend­ing a pro­posal by the Dud­ley Driver­less Ve­hi­cles Con­sor­tium to use the land as a con­trol cen­tre for a hitech au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle dem- re­turn look for Dud­ley set to be on­stra­tion route. The project is es­ti­mated to cost £9 mil­lion and is backed by the West Mid­lands Com­bined Au­thor­ity’s Trans­port for the West Mid­lands group.

Coun­cil of­fi­cers say the con­sor­tium’s pro­posal could cre­ate an au­ton­o­mous route pro­vid­ing a com­mer­cial trans­port link be­tween the Dud­ley Zoo, Liv­ing Mu­seum and Canal and Tun­nels Trust as well as a link to Dud­ley Col­lege Town Cen­tre Cam­pus.

The re­port said: “The ob­jec­tive is for Dud­ley to be­come a key na­tional cen­tre for au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles.”

In re­ject­ing a £12 mil­lion pro­posal by Dud­ley Hip­po­drome Com­mu­nity Group to re­fur­bish the ex­ist­ing build­ing as a the­atre and arts cen­tre, of­fi­cers dis­missed the scheme.

They said: “There is no clear and co­gent plan as to how fund­ing is to be se­cured, no con­sid­er­a­tion as to how au­di­ence is to be cap­tured and grown and no as­sess­ment of the po­ten­tial for com­pe­ti­tion be­tween other nearby venues. The group ac­cept that they have no ex­pe­ri­ence of de­vel­op­ing and de­liv­er­ing a ma­jor cap­i­tal project. In vir­tu­ally all ar­eas of the sub­mis­sion, the pro­posal is weak.”

> Dud­ley Hip­po­drome was one of the finest the­atres in the Mid­lands in its hey­day

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