Plans move forward to sell theatres’ leasehold

Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple

Posted on: 4 May 2016

Plans to potentially sell the leasehold of two North Devon theatres are moving forward.

North Devon Council currently leases the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple and the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe to North Devon Theatres Trust and pays the Trust a subsidy for the provision of leisure services. However, the Trust has now offered to buy the leasehold from the council for £560,000.

At an Executive meeting yesterday (Tuesday 3 May), councillors agreed to the offer in principle, subject to agreeing the terms of the lease.

Executive Member responsible for leisure and culture, Councillor Dick Jones, said: “I am really pleased we have agreed to progress the leasehold sale of the theatres to the Trust. If successful, it will mean they will have greater opportunity to access external funding and it’ll also mean the council hasn’t got to subsidise the theatres beyond 2018, saving money for the council taxpayer in the long-run.

“Taking both of these aspects into account, I believe the sale of the leasehold will be of real benefit to the residents and visitors of North Devon, helping to secure the future and continued long-term viability of what are a superb pair of theatres in our district.”

North Devon Theatres Trust Chairman, Richard Purchase, said: “Working with North Devon Council on a deal to secure the future of our theatres has been a pleasure. Completing this deal will result in a ‘win win’ situation for the Theatres Trust, North Devon Council and the residents of North Devon.”

At yesterday’s meeting, councillors agreed to the Trust’s suggested lease term of 129 years, providing that the facilities continue to be operated as community theatres. The Trust and council will now work on more detailed terms, which will then be considered at a future Executive meeting.

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Posted in: Leisure