£1 price tag could be the best option
Councillor Nigel Porter has suggested that the lease on the former Haymarket Theatre should be sold for £1. He argues that the empty venue is currently costing the city council £150,000 a year in service charges, rates and maintenance and selling it for a nominal sum would remove this financial burden.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby agrees there is a need to dispose of the venue but says giving it away is not the right answer. He says the asking price of £500,000 is reasonable and is not the issue for potential buyers. The real challenge is the expense of refitting the building.
And he adds that there are organisations interested in taking it on.
It is welcome news to hear that there are talks taking place. The venue, in a prime city centre location, has sat empty for six years now.
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It is being marketed as a potential museum, art gallery, cinema, meeting hall, sports venue or theatre and it would certainly be great to see it given a new lease of life.
Obviously, it would be far better if the council could sell this asset for £500,000 rather than giving it away for £1. If there are talks taking place on this basis at present then fair enough.
However, the current situation cannot be allowed to carry on indefinitely and at some point the council really should seriously consider Councillor Porter's suggestion in the event of the venue continuing to be unsold.
A nominal asking price would surely make it more attractive to potential buyers and the challenge of refitting the building more financially achievable. And selling it for £1 would be a better deal for the council and the public than continuing to spend money on an empty building.
Congratulations to Leicester Riders on their thrilling victory over Newcastle Eagles on Sunday to win the British Basketball League Cup Final. In the incredibly tense closing minutes, the Riders prevailed over a side which has dominated British basketball for many seasons. It was a momentous victory and we are delighted for Riders coach Rob Paternostro, the team and the fans.