Bromley Council has confirmed it is in advanced negotiations to sell the Churchill Theatre building to Trafalgar Entertainment - the company that currently operates the theatre.
Concerns over losing the iconic community asset had mounted in recent months as the building has reached the end of its shelf life and fallen into a state of disrepair. A petition organised by Bromley Liberal Democrats to secure the theatre’s future had attracted over 5,500 signatures in just a matter of weeks, underlining its value to local residents.
The negotiations are yet to be formally concluded, and any final agreement will require ratification by the Council’s Executive Committee; but the nature of the announcement suggests a deal is imminent.
Councillor Julie Ireland of Bromley Liberal Democrats cautiously welcomed the prospect of a deal being reached: “While today is a positive step towards safeguarding the Churchill Theatre, we won’t be popping any corks just yet. It’s disappointing that yet another community asset is set to fall into private hands; though we expect the Trafalgar Group to be better custodians of the theatre than the Council. We’ll be scrutinising the deal carefully as it progresses from here, and will want reassurance that the land the building sits on will be protected for use as a theatre should it be sold in future.
“We await further information on Trafalgar’s plans for improving and enhancing the building, and look forward to working with them to provide vital access to the arts for local residents. We want to thank all those who backed the theatre by signing our petition and encourage everyone to support the arts in Bromley by coming to a show - including the Churchill’s much-loved Christmas Panto.”
The Council’s announcement also confirmed that Bromley Library, which occupies the same building, will move to the former Top Shop building on the High Street, subject to approval by the Council’s (all Conservative) Executive Committee and a full feasibility study.
Councillor Ireland said: “We’ll be closely watching the plans for the Library to ensure there is no reduction in services to the public, but we feel that moving it to a modern building in the centre of the High Street is a good move. The central location will increase footfall and support ongoing efforts to revitalise the High Street, while the updated building will be better suited to the needs of a modern library service for local residents.”