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Dramatic plot costs city £1 million

posted 16 Mar 2012, 08:12 by David Rintoul   [ updated 16 Mar 2012, 08:21 ]

Council chiefs are facing a £1 million bill to buy out land under the Festival Theatre – despite having paid up to £45,000 annual rent on it for the past 20 years.

Officials have recommended purchasing the plot from the land owners, having paid rent since 1992.

Two retail stores had to be demolished to make way for the venue – built on to the old Empire Theatre site on Nicholson Street in 1994 – but the owners were not willing to sell.

Instead, at the time, council chiefs struck a little-known deal to sign 25-year leases on the demolished premises and then purchase the site in 2017.