HC Deb 28 January 1986 vol 90 cc469-70W
Mr. Crouch

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has reached a decision on the Greater London council's proposals to dispose of its interests in the Lyric, Garrick, and Lyceum theatres.

Mr. Tracey

As my noble Friend the Minister of State announced today in another place, the GLC applied for consent under section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972 and section 8 of the Local Government (Interim Provisions) Act 1984 to the sale of its freehold interests in these three theatres for the nominal value of £l each to the Theatres Trust. Consent was also sought for the granting of a 125 year lease on the Lyceum to Mecca Leisure Group Ltd. on commercial terms.

After careful consideration of these applications, we have concluded that the disposal of the freehold interests in the Lyric and Garrick to the Theatres Trust for a nominal sum would be justified. This will ensure that the theatres will continue in theatrical use, and that the Theatres Trust will have the resources necessary to maintain them as such. Consent to these disposals has therefore been given to the GLC today.

We accept also that it would be in the interests of Londoners for the Lyceum to continue in entertainment use, but we are not satisfied that the proposals put forward by the GLC are necessary for this to be achieved, while at the same time being in the best interests of the GLC's successor authorities and their ratepayers. Consent to the council's applications in respect of the Lyceum has therefore been refused.

It is now for the GLC to reconsider its proposals and to put forward alternatives if it wishes to do so. In the event that the council's interest in the Lyceum theatre is retained until abolition day, it will be for successor authorities to consider the future of the theatre. In the expectation that the property will pass into the ownership of the London Residuary Body, we would expect that body to take into account the concerns which have been expressed about the continued use of the theatre in considering its future ownership.

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