Councillors at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have refused to re-evaluate the £300,000 valuation of the 100-year-old theatre after labeling it an ‘asset of community value’.

The Novello Theatre, located in Sunninghill High Street, was valued by the council in March 2024 after a campaign group showed interest in purchasing the building for community use.

Despite its need for £100,000 of TLC and improvements and apparent inconsideration of physical restraints, the campaigners request for revaluation and deferral was denied.

The decision to put the theatre on the market came after the previous leaseholder – Redroofs Theatre Company – released the property back into the hands of the council that has held ownership since the 1960s.

In a recent council meeting on the RBWM on April 24, the council addressed the group of residents from across Ascot currently involved in the campaign.

Although the RBWM has given community groups six months to raise money for the building they said that reducing the valuation would not be in the interest of their ‘wider responsibilities as custodians of the asset.’

The council said: “Whilst we are very keen to ensure there is a long-term benefit to the local community in Sunninghill it is also important that we are also conscious to the wider responsibilities to the public as custodians of this asset.

“The council has sought a private valuation based on that the property will stay in community use by an organisation owning and occupying the venue.”

The leader of the council made reference to certain financial shortcomings that the current administration has been left with.

Alan Everard, the leader of Save the Novello Campaign, has said that valuations have not taken into consideration the physical restraints of the property including the sloping floors which would limit some community use.

Peter Harris, financial secretary of the campaign said: “I think they have bought into the community vision but I think they are taking a very short sighted view and are thinking about their own financial problem which admittedly they inherited not created.

“They should be listening, they should be revaluing the property properly and then concluding the deal which is in the interest of the community.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we have been waiting for for a considerable time and it’s sad to see that they are being predudice to their current financial problem.”