Trust would be able to attract more funds if it purchase its lease from the council

A bid to buy out the lease of both of North Devon’s theatres could help fund a new café and restaurant at the Landmark.

North Devon Theatres Trust has offered North Devon Council £560,000 to buy a 129 year lease for the Queen’s and Landmark theatres.

The council’s executive has been recommended to approve the deal when it meets on Tuesday, May 3.

It means the theatres trust would be free to seek funding from sources such as the Arts Council, which it could use to further plans such as the new Landmark restaurant.

The council would get £560,000 and no longer have to subsidise the theatres, which this year cost £297,500.

The arrangement would see one final reduced subsidy payment of £175,000 in 2017/18.

The trust would also take on the maintenance of the theatre buildings.

The current agreement runs out in 2018 and the council had intended to put the theatres contact out to tender – but officers advised a better deal was unlikely.

There had been informal interest in the service from Parkwood Leisure, which currently operates the Leisure Centre.

A report to the executive by Mark Kentell said any new agreement would include the condition they continued to be run as community theatres.