Building costs for the theatre had risen from £26 million to £44 million and there were fears that the new administration - which came into power after the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition fell apart - would shelve the plans.However, final approval has been given and for the original version rather than the scaled-down re-interpretation that had been submitted to cut costs.
The news has been welcomed by Haymarket chief executive Mandy Stewart, who said she was delighted with the positive statement, which was exactly what the project deserved, adding: We will work in partnership with the council to make sure Leicester people have an outstanding theatre.
The centre-piece of the new Cultural Quarter, the theatre will be built using funds from various bodies including Arts Council England and local authorities. It will be a glass-walled building seating 750. Work is due to start in the spring with the final building expected to attract 224,000 visitors in its first year, with more than 8,000 coming from outside the east Midlands. The present Haymarket Theatre is destined to become part of a shopping mall expansion in the city centre.
Councils leisure chief Andy Connelly said: Despite the increased cost, we cant afford to get this wrong. We want to invest in a building we can be proud of, which is going to attract visitors to the city.