MILLIONS of pounds worth of investment must be attracted from the private sector if a proposed theatre is to become a reality.
Arts portfolio holder Cllr Richard Short said if Cheshire West and Chester gets half the estimated £30m cost for the new performing arts centre it will be “doing well”.
Executive members last week gave their backing to the vision for a theatre with performing arts studios and possible conference centre.
The preferred option would see the building sited by the River Dee on the Little Roodee car park.
Cllr Short said: “We would like someone to come on board from the private sector and have some input into it. We’ve not even got that far yet.”
Other sources of funding could come from the Council, the Arts Council, North West Development Agency and Chester Renaissance.
Members unanimously supported the recommendation for an £80,000 feasibility study. They were told
reopening the Gateway Theatre main auditorium, which closed in 2007, would cost £2.5m and was “not an option”.
Cllr Short said it was probably “an exaggerated figure” but he nevertheless wants any available money to go into delivering the new venue.
“We want to make Chester a ‘must see’ venue for visitors from all over the UK, Europe and the world,” he said.
But he confirmed interim arrangements were being considered to fill the gap until the new theatre opens, hopefully in about four years’ time.
Chester’s success as an international cultural centre would be beneficial to West Cheshire and indeed the whole of the county, he said.