Action group seeks legal advice over use of Doncaster’s Grand Theatre

Doncaster's Grand Theatre.
Doncaster's Grand Theatre.

Lawyers are being asked to look into the ownership of Doncaster’s crumbling Grand Theatre in an attempt to force action to bring it back to life.

Elected Mayor Peter Davies told a council meeting that he wanted talks with the owners of the Frenchgate Centre to thrash out the Victorian building’s future use - but had been hindered by a lack of co-operation.

Now campaign group The Friends of Doncaster Grand Theatre has added its voice to the mayor’s by calling on the building’s owners to open talks on the future of the disused landmark.

Margaret Herbert, chair of the friends group, has revealed that letters sent by campaigners in recent weeks to the owners of the Frenchgate Centre have also met with no reply.

She said: “We understand perfectly that the owners, like any other, have no obligation to discuss the future of a building they own.

“However, given the significance of this building, both historically and emotionally to hundreds of Doncastrians, we feel disappointed that neither we nor the mayor have received a response, or acknowledgement, from the owners.”

She added the friends group is determined to reopen the 1899 theatre after more than 20 years of ‘darkness’ and has hired solicitors to establish who owns the building which forms part of the Frenchgate Centre estate.

Mrs Herbert added: “We support the elected mayor’s call for the owners to tell the people of this town how they view the future of the Grand Theatre.

“Along with Mr Davies, the friends would be more than willing to support that process in any way we can.”

Mr Davies revealed at a recent cabinet meeting that the Frenchgate Centre management had refused to speak to him about the Grand, a situation he described as “thoroughly unsatisfactory.”