QUESTIONS have been raised as to why Malvern's prestigious theatre has not carried out renovation work during the coronavirus lockdown.

County and district councillor James O'Donnell said the theatre should have carried out renovation work while closed during lockdown as the Malvern Splash swimming pool did.

He said: "I know that the Malvern Theatres is currently closed due to Covid 19, and it is not expected to re-open until December at the earliest.

READ MORE: Future of Malvern Theatres in doubt amid coronavirus crisis

"My thought was that the redevelopment to remodel the front of the cinema (which is an approved planning application), and to create new rehearsal space, could be completed in the time that the theatre is closed.

"If the work is not completed, the theatres are likely to close again, with a further loss of revenue, when the work is undertaken.

"My view is that the District Council should be looking at how we can support the Theatre to do the improvements whilst it is closed."

Cllr O'Donnell raised the issue of the council's recent purchase of land at Hallow, saying similar money could be used to protect one of the town's most important sites.

READ MORE: Why did Malvern Hills District Council buy 45 acres of land in Hallow?

He added: "If we can find £180k out of reserves to buy land at Hallow, surely we can use some of our reserves as a loan to the Theatre to get the work done quickly, with a view to minimising disruption next year.

"One key element in the redevelopment was to create more space for community groups, and particularly children. Supporting these groups and children has to be one of our Council priorities going forward."

Malvern Theatres chief executive Nick Lloyd said the theatre had planned to carry out the work this summer, but couldn't due to lockdown.

He also said for the renovation work to be completed, the council would have to "fund the majority, if not all" of the work.

He added: " In the current climate, the reserves that we have saved as a theatre, following a successful few years, are now critical to our survival."