THE revival of an iconic theatre "is a really good story of urban renaissance" according to a newly appointed chairman of the Conservative party. 

Theatres and cinemas like Scala Theatre are 'valuable' for urban regeneration, according to Greg Hands.

A planning application which would see a new 500-seat performing arts venue open at the former Scala Theatre in Angel Place was submitted earlier this year. 

Mr Hands, who was appointed in his new role in January, said: "I don't remember seeing a former theatre that has been out of use as a theatre for quite a time.

"I think a new theatre and cinema will help to bring people back into the city centre and I have been really impressed by how lively and busy Worcester City Centre has been. 

"Having the cinema and theatre will help liven up the evening which will have a knock-on effect on business for businesses and bars."

Cllr Marc Bayliss, Conservative councillor for Bedwardine Ward, said: "The auditorium is still there and it has been boarded up for 30/40 years and it's empty but it's still a physical space where the seats and stage and are all in there and locked away like a time capsule." 

Mr Hands was visiting Worcester on Wednesday as part of a tour across England ahead of the elections next month.

He said: "Worcester is an incredibly likeable city with its historic centre and very lively centre and great high street which is going to be improved even further with government money and towns fund. 

"Bringing back the theatre to its historic premises, I think it, first of all, shows a signal that a city is doing well and that a city is also focusing on its cultural side, which for a well-known city like Worcester. 

" I think is really important for the evening and night-time economy and brings people into the city centre."

Worcester News: Lucy Hodgson, Greg Hands and Marc Bayliss standing outside Scala TheatreLucy Hodgson, Greg Hands and Marc Bayliss standing outside Scala Theatre (Image: NQ)

However, Mr Hands shared his thoughts on the upcoming elections and said: "Overall the local elections are going to be difficult for the party, these seats were last fought in 2019 and labour was still under Jeremy Corbyn.

"Worcester is obviously a very marginal constituency and nobody controls the council.

"I think we're going to put on an amazing show in Worcester. 

"It's too early to tell if we will regain control in various areas."