End of the line for Dudley Hippodrome?

An artist’s impression of the cleared Hippodrome site

The former Dudley Hippodrome looks set to be bulldozed and replaced with an area of open space to give visitors views of the town’s castle.

New proposals to knock down the historic theatre have been unveiled by Dudley Council - despite a lengthy battle by campaigners to see it restored to its former glory. Council bosses want to pull the theatre down and replace it with an outdoor exhibition area.

The blueprints show the former landmark theatre bulldozed with a sweeping open public space in its place. However those opposing the news say the cost of solving an asbestos issue, demolishing the venue and resurfacing the area is barely less than bringing the existing building up to scratch.

The move comes just weeks after interested parties were given the chance to put forward proposals to redevelop the venue - but these applications failed to convince council planners.

Bosses have said that, although a number of proposals were submitted to them, none of the interested parties came forward with a viable alternative that made 'financial sense' for the building which dominates Castle Hill.

Campaigners forming the 'Friends of Dudley Hippodrome' say they put forward a scheme for a theatre and music venue with strong public backing - but it was found by an independent consultant to be flawed in a number of areas.

The proposals to submit a planning application for the open space scheme will be put to the council’s cabinet a week on Thursday, but Garry Sawyers, also known as Black Country Gaz, said the demolition of the Castle Hill building would be a "destruction of our heritage".


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