A THEATRE boss has refused to open one of Worcester’s oldest buildings to the public, following calls from the civic society.

Chris Jaeger, head of the Swan Theatre, rejected the civic society’s suggestion to open up Queen Elizabeth House, in The Trinity.

It is said that Queen Elizabeth I addressed the masses from the balcony of the building, during a visit in 1575.

Phil Douce, chair of Worcester Civic Society, said: “It belongs to the people of Worcester in my opinion.

“Downstairs it’s chock-a-block with costumes for the Swan Theatre. What a waste of a building like that.

“That building should be open for visitors, it should work in conjunction with Tudor House.”

Mr Douce envisioned that local societies could also use the building for meetings and other purposes.

However, Mr Jaeger rebuffed Mr Douce’s suggestion, claiming that the building is unsuitable for visitors.

He added: "It's not suitable to be used like Tudor House, it's a tenth of the size.

"There are very low ceilings and beams which are a problem, there are changes of height in the floor all over the place. There's a constant chance of hitting your head or tripping up.

"It has no disabled access, it has no fire escape and one can't be built. It's very small and it's extremely cold as there's no insulation.

"You would have to spend - I would guess - tens and tens and tens of thousands of pounds to make it suitable for the public."

He said there is also no adequate toileting in the property.

Mr Jaeger also questioned how the property would be funded if it was opened up to the public.

He added: "They will have to pay a couple of people to sit there all day. Who's going to fund that?"

The boss said he just recently signed a new six-year lease for the property, which contains two upstairs offices and a downstairs room storing theatre costumes.

The city council, which owns the building, gave Mr Douce an opportunity to come up with a viable alternative for the property but he failed to bring one forward, according to Mr Jaeger

However, Mr Douce denies that he was offered this opportunity.