Futurist decision upheld

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Campaigners battling to save the Futurist Theatre say they will push ahead with plans for a public inquiry after a committee threw out the call in of the ‘magic cave’ decision.

The authority’s Resources and Scrutiny Committee voted down two motions, by cllr Colin Challen and cllr Janet Jefferson, to call in the decision and ask the cabinet to reconsider the in principle decision to proceed with plans to build a magic cave with rolleroaster and botanical gardens on the site of the theatre.

As part of the process the council is also exploring tender options to cost the demolition and making safe of the site.

Cllr Challen’s objection related to part of St Nicholas Gardens being included in the bidder’s plans.

Cllr Jefferson claimed the process was illegal and asked for further bids to be considered.

The illegality claim was disputed by the council’s head of legal services, Lisa Dixon, who added that reopening a tender process that had closed would leave the council facing legal challenges from bidders who submitted bids within the timeframe.

The committee voted by 6 votes to 5 to proceed with the council’s decision.

Speaking after the meeting campaigner Patricia David said: “[The council] has played right into a public inquiry with today’s decision.

“We will be taking this further now.”