NOT everyone is convinced that reopening the Gateway would be good idea.
Andrew Bentley is project manager of Chester Performs, which receives some of the funding which used to go to the Gateway and was created to deliver the postponed performing arts centre.
He is opposed to resurrecting the Gateway, describing it as “a retrograde step” because the building is only really suited to theatre and not music or film.
Mr Bentley said: “The Gateway’s diminishing programme reflected the rapid decline in decent quality theatre tours available and we would not be confident of a decent programme.
“We need to remember that the performing arts centre development is as much about music and dance and film.
“Our own new Screen Deva festival in June showed the market for independent film alone.
“So this is a time for forward thinking and a positive attitude. There are opportunities galore and new options now available to us. Let’s grab them together.”
Mr Bentley says a temporary venue should be created, the Northgate scheme rephased so the arts centre is built at the beginning and the level of arts activities “beefed up”.
Current Chester Festivals chairman David Pickering believes it would be better to utilise existing venues such as at the cathedral and the new facility at the racecourse.
Cllr Mike Jones, Tory leader of the new Cheshire West and Chester Council, is also sceptical about reopening the Gateway and says he has been told it would cost £3m to bring up to standard.
He said: “Personally, I think it would be very expensive. That’s why the previous administration closed it. They couldn’t afford to run it.”