WORCESTER’S Conservative parliamentary candidate has launched a scathing criticism of ‘watered down’ plans for the city’s Scala Theatre.
Marc Bayliss branded the revised plans for the landmark ‘a mere shadow’ of the previous bid.
The man bidding to succeed Robin Walker as Worcester’s MP said residents wanted a new theatre ‘not a white elephant’.
New images of the proposed revamp were revealed after an initial proposal for a 500 seat theatre was abandoned.
The designs show three multi-use studios, currently named The Stage, The Screen, and The Box. In addition, there is a café which could act as additional performance space.
There will also be a foyer and reception area. However Mr Bayliss said it was no longer the ‘landmark development’ first tabled by the city’s former Conservative leadership.
He said the current Labour and Green run City Council ‘appear to want to settle for a sub-standard design with only a few small performance spaces’.
The Conservative candidate added he was deeply concerned there is no business plan for the new, downgraded facilities.
He also raised the spectre the venue would close or require a significant on-going public subsidy.
Mr Bayliss said:
“These new proposals are a much watered-down version of the promise offered by a new theatre.
“As leader of the council at the time the bid was made, we aimed to build a new theatre for Worcester which would enable us to bring bigger shows and performances to the city.
“Instead, these revised plans show just how little ambition the new Labour and Green Council has for Worcester.
“Three small performance spaces which replicate what we already have in the city is not what we need.
“What makes it even worse is that they don’t even have a business plan. I fear it will either fail or require a huge cash subsidy from the council in the future.”
“Worcester was promised a new theatre and instead they are getting another small cinema and some small performance spaces.
“I feel the City Council needs to go back to the drawing board and up their ambitions.”
Mr Bayliss will also write to ministers to highlight what was promised in the original funding bid will not be delivered.
The project is being funded with part of the city’s £17.9million share of the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.
The planning application has been submitted and residents can now comment on the plans.
Visit plan.worcester.gov.uk/Planning/Display/24/00006/FUL for more information and to have your say.