THE council is set to agree to buy an historic former cinema as the next part of major regeneration work in the city centre.

Worcester City Council has reached an agreement to buy the Scala Theatre in Angel Place as part of a plan to turn the former cinema into a new arts venue.

The building is currently home to Shipleys Amusement Centre who will move to a new location in the city once the deal is finalised.

The council had already said it would use compulsory purchase powers to buy the building if Shipleys was unwilling to sell.

The cost of the deal - as well as compensation - has not been revealed and will be discussed in secret.

The council's policy and resources committee meets next Tuesday (June 8) to discuss the proposals.

The move to buy the Scala Theatre comes after the council was successful in its almost £18 million bid to the government for several projects including transforming the almost 100-year-old former cinema into an arts, theatre and music venue.

Negotiations contained with the owner of the Scala over the sale of the building when councillors last met in February with an agreement already reached over buying the neighbouring grade II-listed Corn Exchange building in Crown Passage.

Buying both buildings will allow the council to build the new 450-to-500-seat venue.

The successful bid means the area around Angel Street and Angel Place, The Foregate, The Cross and Trinity Street would be completely regenerated to create an ‘urban neighbourhood’ focusing on new shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, a new performance and arts venue and other cultural facilities, some family-friendly attractions as well as housing and office space transforming it into a ‘destination’ for young people and families.

The work would cost around £29 million with the city council and other local partners putting forward £11 million alongside the government money.