Members of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have agreed that £1.47 million should be spent on repairs and refurbishment work to the Assembly Hall Theatre, subject to full council approval.
The theatre, in Crescent Road, is at the centre of discussion after the council published documents stating that a new £25 million theatre could be developed on the site.
The proposal, made by Stephen Browning Associates, claimed it would provide a new theatre fit for another 75 years - comparable to the transformation of the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.
There are on-going concerns over the seating, dated facilities, lack of space and the overall run down condition leading to problems in day-to-day operation.
At a finance and governance cabinet advisory board meeting held this evening, the council discussed the proposals for the venue including short term charges and repairs required.
The short term change proposals - that the members have now agreed to recommend for full council approval - include:
The council said the implementation of these improvements would resolve most of these issues and would also re-model the bar and complete some back-stage remodelling.
However, it highlighted in documents released ahead of the meeting that this work would "address the immediate concerns only and would not act as a longer term solution to providing a modern 21st Century theatre that is fit for another 75 years."
TWBC said it is aware of the challenges the AHT is facing including a restricted audience capacity between 940 and 1,010 which is below the number required by major producers and promoters.
This means the borough misses out on some of the bigger musical theatre tours and comedy shows.
With the concerns in mind the council engaged Stephen Browning Associates (SBA) to conduct a review of the AHT.
It concluded with two options for the council to consider:
For the latter option to be introduced, both the town hall and theatre site would need to be developed, potentially meaning the council offices would be relocated.
Some council members questioned how the council would fund a £25 million pound development, with Cllr Holden asking: "Why can't the council get an outside company or authority involved in this to help with the development, why is it down to the local council."
He also expressed a concern as to why the council is focusing so much expenditure on what is considered a 'discretionary service'.
"I really think we should go for it; you have to speculate to accumulate and I think we need to think bigger, we need to think more seats and more space" - Cllr Ben Chapelard on the £25 million proposal
However, Cllr Ben Chapelard argued the council should support the £25 million pound development proposal.
He said: "I really think we should go for it; you have to speculate to accumulate and I think we need to think bigger, we need to think more seats and more space.
"Lets go for it."
Cllr Chapelard also said he believes the former ABC cinema site should be considered as a potential plot for the new theatre.
A speaker at the meeting, Mr Whitmore, said that the building's listed status had not been taken into consideration anywhere in the proposal. He added: "The complex is a listed building, and no where in the report have I seen a mention of that, however, I support the first recommendation of a £12.5 million upgraded theatre.
"I feel less comfortable with the option of a 'new' £25 million theatre, and I think the council would find it hard to fund, and would a huge expense of £25 million really be appropriate when we already have a 1000 seat theatre - it can just be upgraded."
Deputy chief executive, Jonathan Macdonald said it is 'indisputable' that such a development would be a drain on costs, but that members should consider the benefits it may bring to the borough's cultural aspect and the community.
Chair of the board, Cllr Rusbridge said: "I must stress this is a very early stage of the proposals and it is the time for questions to be asked and concerns to be raised."
Cllr Rusbridge added that the council was evidence gathering and no decision on what will be done would be made without proper consultation and investigation.
Further discussion on the matter is due to take place at a cabinet meeting later this month.