"Worcester wants its new theatre not a white elephant" warns an MP hopeful over the Scala Theatre's "watered down" plans.

Conservative candidate for Worcester Marc Bayliss said the revised plans for the building in Angel Place are a "mere shadow" of the original proposals to create a new 500-seater venue for the city.

Instead, the Scala Theatre will be turned into a 300-seat venue after Worcester City Council saw the gap in its budget rocket to £3.5 million since the start of 2023.

Cllr Lynn Denham, joint leader of Worcester City Council, said it will be decided 'without the intrusion of party politics' and said she was pleased with the revised plans.

Mr Bayliss feels the new plans have fallen short of original expectations and was concerned there was no business plan for the revised facilities that he classed as a downgrade.

“These new proposals are a much watered-down version of the promise offered by a new theatre," he said.

"As leader of the council at the time the bid was made, we aimed to build a new theatre for Worcester that would enable the city to bring bigger shows and performances to the City. 

"Instead, these revised plans show just how little ambition the new Labour and Green Council has for Worcester. 

"Three small performance spaces that replicate what we already have in the City is not what we need. What makes it even worse is that they don’t even have a business plan for this new facility and I fear it will either fail or require a huge cash subsidy from the council in the future.

“Worcester was promised a new theatre and instead they are getting another small cinema and some small performance spaces. I feel the City Council needs to go back to the drawing board and up their ambitions.”

Mr Bayliss intends to write to Government ministers to highlight his concerns that the original plans are now not going to be delivered due to these new proposals.

Cllr Lynn Denham, joint leader of Worcester City Council, said: "The Scala building was never a theatre.  Worcester people have many happy memories of the films that they saw in this cinema. 

"I am pleased that the new planning application works with the existing structures and spaces in this lovely building.  The application will be decided by members of the Planning Committee, without the intrusion of party politics. 

"The planning application has been developed in partnership with a Creative Consortium who are working on bringing new cultural experiences to this part of the city. 

"It is regrettable that the money from the central government Future High Streets Fund is for capital expenditure only and has been badly impacted by the rise in the cost of living and building materials."