Theatres Trust shocked by the 'demolition' of Derby Hippodrome
28th March 2008
Today, under the pretext of carrying out ‘essential repairs’ contractors AB Demolition demolished substantial sections of Derby Hippodrome. Fears were raised by The Theatres Trust two days ago that the presence of a demolition crew would only lead to further damage. Structural metal beams supporting the roof were removed and destabilised the whole building. The Hippodrome’s side walls have been pulled down and the theatre’s stage house and flytower have been lost.
Following repeated assurances from Derby City Council that only essential repairs would be undertaken, works to the roof of this grade II listed building began without proper Council approval. Council staff and building inspectors were not present until this afternoon when many calls were made by concerned locals to The Theatres Trust and Derby City Council. Once on site they established that the contractors were using incorrect machinery to carry out repairs.
In consequence an unnecessary amount of demolition and loss of historic fabric has taken place, leaving virtually all but the front section of the building remaining intact. The undertaking of ‘essential repairs’ has caused extensive damage and may well have secured its final destruction.
As previously stated by the Trust, failure to obtain consent for works or demolition of a listed building is a criminal offence. Derby City Council can now take action against the owner including the serving of an enforcement notice to rebuild the theatre. Director of the Trust, Mhora Samuel said “The owners have adopted completely the wrong approach to repair Derby Hippodrome. This destruction demonstrates the vulnerability of historic theatres and buildings when owners breach listed building legislation.”
The Trust again urges local residents to remain vigilant and report any further activity on the site they see over the weekend to the Police on 0845 123 3333, Derby City Council Emergency 24 hour line Dangerous Structures on 01332 255 903 and The Theatres Trust on 07932 653 560.
Photographs: Jim Cork