Drama over listed status for theatre

WAR has broken out between two groups of Doncaster theatre lovers - and it looks like they may end up spilling more than stage blood.

Wednesday, 26th September 2007, 3:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th September 2007, 3:50 pm

The groups - the Grand Theatre Fabric Preservation Society and the Friends of the Grand Theatre - are in dispute over The Grand Theatre’s future.

The GTFPS claim the building is in danger of losing its Grade II listed status, but the Friends group disagree.

GTFPS supporter Tony McCready said: “Ray Nortrop, the man who has been spearheading the ‘save the Grand petition’, has been predicting that the theatre would be ripe for an application to de-list given its condition during the last few years.

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“Things are so bad that Doncaster Council should now consider serving a repairs notice upon the owners of the theatre to bring about at least the visible repairs necessary.”

He added national stage pressure group the Theatres’ Trust has included the historic Doncaster theatre on its list of the 10 most ‘at risk’ theatres in the country.

However, Margaret Herbert, of the Friends said: “We collected some 60,000 signatures to save the theatre from demolition and succeeded, along with Doncaster Civic Trust, to get the building Grade II listed.

“The listing has recently been upgraded and it would take an Act of Parliament to remove it.”

She added: “Scarborough Developments are currently in the process of selling on the Frenchgate complex, including the theatre, to a property company.

“Until this package deal is completed neither the Friends nor any other body can take any further steps.”