The Broadway Theatre in Catford cannot stay open while works are carried out because it would “not be safe”, according to a Lewisham cabinet member.  

The theatre is expected to shut this summer and stay closed for the majority of Lewisham’s Borough of Culture year.  

In response to a member’s question from Councillor Liam Curran, sent before full council, the cabinet member for culture, jobs and skills explained that most of the works involved “urgent health and safety requirements”.  

A full electrical rewiring of the building must take place, as well as an asbestos check.

Cllr Andre Bourne said: “The majority of the works planned for the Broadway theatre are urgent health and safety requirements and have been programmed to start at the earliest possible opportunity, estimated to be summer/autumn 2020.  

“The works are intrusive within the fabric of the building therefore it is not possible nor safe to keep the theatre open during these works.  

“For example the full electric rewire will require all power to be shut off and temporary lighting and power to be provided whilst the works are underway.  

“Before any works can commence a full asbestos survey must be undertaken and any remedial works completed – this will also require the theatre to be shut and access controlled.  

“Where possible the less intrusive works such as decorations and access improvements will be programmed towards the end of the programme and consideration given to partially opening the theatre whilst these are underway if it is practically possible.” 

He said after mayor and cabinet approval, the council plans to hire a contractor in March and submit a planning application in Spring.  

The theatre is expected to close around the end of summer and reopen in summer/autumn 2021.  

“The programme will be refined when we have a contractor appointed and have agreed a final scope and method of works.  

“We all want to achieve this priority work to an important local asset as swiftly as we can,” he said.