Uncertainty over Regent future

IPSWICH'S Regent Theatre was today facing a very uncertain future as it looked set to become a key pawn in the power struggle at Civic Centre.A review of the operation and future of the theatre is due to be discussed by members of Ipswich council's executive in the near future.

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IPSWICH'S Regent Theatre was today facing a very uncertain future as it looked set to become a key pawn in the power struggle at Civic Centre.

A review of the operation and future of the theatre is due to be discussed by members of Ipswich council's executive in the near future.

That is expected to outline a number of options - including developing it as a major entertainment at a cost of many millions of pounds.


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But while Labour, which has a minority administration running Ipswich council following last week's annual meeting, is committed to retaining the theatre as a live venue both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are concerned about the level of subsidy it needs.

Both want to see the theatre either run as a trust at arm's length from the council or for it to be sold off altogether to an independent operator.

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They want to do this to cut the council subsidy required to keep it going - which runs at between £750,000 and £1 million a year.

Neither the Tories nor the Liberal Democrats will discuss what they would do if no one wants to take on the Regent - they recoil at the thought of it being closed.

But both are committed to developing the Corn Exchange complex and fighting against any suggestion from the Labour group that this should be sold off.

Newly-reappointed leisure spokesman John Mowles said his Labour group appreciated it was urgent that decisions should soon be taken about the future of the Regent.

"We will discuss this very soon. We can't say for certain it will be at the next executive, but it will have to be during the early summer," he said.

nDo you think council taxpayers should continue subsidising the Regent? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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