29 Oct 2022 - 10:14:21
|Chelmsford Theatre revamp cost soars as panto also cancelled
Issues with suppliers has led to the revamp of a council-owned theatre spiralling in cost to more than £3m, with a pantomime also being cancelled.
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Work to give Chelmsford Theatre in Essex a new foyer, bar and toilets was due to finish before December.
The city council said delays in getting construction materials caused costs to soar and had led to the Christmas panto of Jack and the Beanstalk being canned.
The council's deputy leader blamed Brexit for the problems.
The original budget approved for the project was £1m, but that was hiked up to £2.75m in March and is now up to £3.25m.
The Christmas panto, which would have generated about £440,000 in revenue, was also shelved because of delays to the refurbishment.
People with bookings have been invited to transfer tickets to the 2023 Christmas shows instead.
Conservative councillor Mike Steel asked a city council meeting: "How did it go so wrong?"
"Some of my constituents, complaining to me about the theatre being closed for Christmas, are very disappointed," said Mr Steel.
Marie Goldman, the council's Liberal Democrat deputy leader, said the government's failure to secure "a good Brexit deal" caused delays in obtaining construction materials.