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Theatre fight’s hippo posters
11:30am Wednesday 3rd October 2012 in Local
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save the former Hippodrome theatre on Castle Hill from demolition have adorned the building with colourful pictures of Hippos to raise awareness of their cause.
It is thought the family of hippos, brandishing ‘Save the Hippo’ signs were stuck on to the front facade of the art deco style building over the weekend, but have since begun peeling away.
Campaigners from The Friends of Dudley Hippodrome are opposing Dudley Council’s decision to demolish the former Gala Bingo building as part of its ongoing Castle Hill regeneration plans and instead want it retained and restored back into a theatre venue.
The group who have collected thousands of signatures in opposition have submitted a business plan to councillors with the aim to set up a social enterprise to run the theatre.
The council’s planning application, which is available for viewing online, requests conservation area consent to demolish the building and use the area as a temporary car park for Dudley Zoo.
The plans have received numerous objections from residents, as well as from English Heritage, which despite dismissing it for statutory listing, states the building “makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Dudley Town Centre Conservation Area. It is an important landmark within the conservation area signalling the entrance to the centre”.
However the council’s proposals have been supported by the Black Country Living Museum’s director and chief executive, Andrew Lovett, who said the demolition is necessary for the wider development in Castle Hill.
Councillor Shaukat Ali, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We have been working with the campaigners over the future of the Hippodrome and have said all along if they come up with a viable business plan we will look at that.
“We have received an initial draft and they have until the end of this month to submit the final case. However, in the meantime we are looking at other options for the site, including demolition as part of the Castle Hill development.
No decisions have been taken, and we have explained to the group that we will consider their proposal with a completely open mind.”
A public meeting by The Friends of Dudley Hippodrome is set to take place at the Station Hotel on Sunday October 14 at 6.30pm.
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