A 100-year-old theatre is at risk of demolition after ageing asbestos was found during a survey of the building last summer.

The Novello Theatre, also known as the Old Picture House, is located on Sunninghill high street and has a strong historical connection with the local community.

For the last ten years, the theatre has been under the lease of the Red Roofs Theatre Company and used for performances and shows throughout the year.

When the owner of the theatre school surrendered the building, it was handed over to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead who assessed it for any damage and decay that has accumulated over the years.

Following an inspection of the now-empty building, the council has confirmed that due to its age, the structure is in a ‘very poor condition' and ‘in need of serious investment and refurbishment to make it usable’. This is expected to take 'serious investment.’

Councillor Joshua Reynolds, Cabinet member for communities and leisure, said: “A significant part of the structure is ageing asbestos sheeting. The council is required to get best value from all its assets.”

The management team at the Cordes Hall beside the Novello theatre and members of the local business community have rallied together with the intent to save the historical building.

This comes as a variety of groups and schools have come forward interested in it becoming a ‘building of community interest.’

A campaign and a petition have been launched by local businesses throughout the village which has been backed by Sunninghill and Ascot Parish Council.

Councillor Reynolds added: “We’re happy to speak with anyone – community groups, parish council or individuals – who has a scheme and sufficient funding to repair and convert it for a viable future use.

“I’ve spoken to many local residents who are interested in the theatre and am open to working constructively with the community. The funding requested in the budget, if agreed, will be used for interim safety works pending a final decision on the building’s future.”