RAMSBOTTOM'S Co-op Music Hall has been added to the Theatres at Risk Register as fears grow for its immediate future.

The Theatres Trust has announced that 31 venues feature on its latest list of places at significant or immediate risk of being lost.

The Co-op Music Hall is the only venue to have been added in 2021 to its Theatres at Risk Register, which is published annually.

The Theatres Trust said in a statement that while the coronavirus pandemic has had a "devastating" impact on the UK theatre industry, "relatively few theatre operators have ceased trading and fortunately none of the buildings left empty look to be in imminent danger".

A spokesperson for the Trust said: "The Co-op Music Hall is a rare and important surviving musical hall from the 1870s.

"Located on the upper level of a retail and office building, the music hall has been vacant and forgotten for many years, but remains in remarkably good condition. It is now under threat of redevelopment for housing, which would see the sad loss of this remarkable theatre.

The Ramsbottom Co-op Hall was built in 1876 when the Ramsbottom Industrial and Provident Society built a three-storey extension alongside its existing 1863 building. The new extension was constructed to house shops on the ground floor with offices, stores and a music hall above. Seating 800 people, it was the chief theatrical and social venue in the town.

In August 2020 development company Landa Corporation Ltd submitted a planning application to convert the upper levels of the building into apartments.

The following month, Theatres Trust applied for the Co-op hall to be listed, with Bury District Council placing a Building Preservation Order on the building, thereby giving it the same status as a listed building for the next six months.

The planning application has since been withdrawn, but it is feared that a further submission for conversion to residential use may be submitted.

Other theatres featured on the list, which is in its 14th year, include the Streatham Hill Theatre in south London, Blackpool's Winter Gardens Pavilion, the Burnley Empire and Dundee's King's Theatre.

The Theatres Trust, which is the national advisory public body for theatre, said it has seen an "emerging trend" during the pandemic where vacant theatre buildings are being put up for sale by private owners.

The Brighton Hippodrome, Liverpool's Garston Empire, Salford Victoria in Greater Manchester and Theatr Ardudwy in Harlech, Wales, which all feature on the list, were put up for sale in the second half of last year, according to the Theatres Trust.

The organisation said in a statement it "hopes for constructive collaboration with all owners to secure a positive future for these important theatres".

Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan said: "This past year has shown that communities value places where they can come together and that audiences miss live performances.

"While the theatre sector still has challenging days ahead, Theatres Trust believes that theatre will come back stronger than ever and that each building on the Theatres at Risk list has real potential to be a valuable asset to its community, to bring much needed footfall to its town centre and spark regeneration of its area as part of the recovery post-Covid."

Musician and actor Gary Kemp, who is a trustee for Theatres Trust, said: "As a performer I know how vital theatre buildings are, adding immeasurably to the atmosphere of a show, whether it is music or drama.

"Every building on the Theatres at Risk list is part of the UK's cultural and social heritage, but each also holds a special position in their community and with the right support could once more be central to a sense of local pride."