THE long-awaited restoration of a venue which once played host to the Beatles will move a step forward next week.
The multi-million pound revamp of The Globe theatre in Stockton, which was first announced eight years ago, has been plagued by delays – but will now go ahead.
The inter-war Art Deco building, which first opened its doors in 1935, will house live events once again with capacity of up to 2,500.
The restoration, and change of use of part of the building from a shop to a bar and bistro, will go before Stockton Council's planning committee next Wednesday.
The Art Deco frontage of the theatre will be restored to its former glory, and large part of the building which once housed the backstage will be demolished as it is severely decimated by long-term water damage.
This will be placed by an extension to house backstage dressing rooms, the stage door, a security office, and space for storing technical equipment.
The report to the planning committee says: "It is considered that this (development) represents a significant positive impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre for its night-time economy which in turn may also have a positive impact on the vitality of retailing."
One of the conditions of planning permission being granted is that development work has to be started within three years.
Part of the building, which stands at 153 High Street, Stockton, will be changed into a bar and bistro, which will operate even when the Globe is not open.
Historic England has "warmly welcomed" the restoration of the large inter-war theatre and cinema, but asked that the front of 153 High Street is designed more sympathetically in line with the theatre.
The report says: "Historic England has suggested that a more sympathetic shop frontage should be installed.
"They consider that whilst the design of the new shop front reflects that of the theatre it does not respond well to the much earlier historic character above it. The applicant has agreed to explore other design options to reach a solution that respect the parent building and its neighbour without become another pastiche design."
The Globe opened in 1935 and was designed as a cine-variety "super cinema theatre".
It had full stage facilities and dressing rooms on three floors.
Just two years after it opened, in 1937, it became an ABC cinema but still saw occasional live theatre use.
The cinema closed in 1977 and it was converted to a bingo hall, which continued until 1996, and it has been vacant ever since.
The Theatres Trust, which has been involved in the planning of the restoration, said: "The Globe is one of the few remaining and complete super cinema theatres in the UK.
"While the theatre has deteriorated due to lack of use and neglect, there have not been many significant changes or alterations since it was built in 1935."
The development was delayed after preliminary work started on the Grade II-listed building, when it became clear the full refurbishment would be dependent on a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding.
The HLF announced that it would release nearly £4m to transform the venue, and initially released about ten per cent of the full amount, with the rest withheld until full plans were submitted to them.
The Stockton High Street venue once played host to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
It will now become a live music and comedy venue after its transformation by The Globe Stockton Foundation – a partnership between Stockton Borough Council and the building's owner, Jomast Leisure and Property Limited.