The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has refused to intervene in a planning application by Derby City Council to demolish the 1970s Derby Assembly Rooms.
A fire in an adjacent car park seven years ago closed the Assembly Rooms, and it recently lost its listed status.
A decision to refurbish the building was abandoned when estimated costs escalated from £23m to £33.5m. The council plans to build a £43m, 3500-capacity performance venue in the Becketwell area of the city instead.
Its built environment team, Derby's Conservation Area Advisory Committee, the national Twentieth Century Society and several prominent architects were among those who opposed demolishing the brutalist building, and Historic England has serious concerns on heritage grounds.
Campaigners believe the “ready-made theatre” could be reopened for upwards of £25m.
A separate public campaign to accelerate the demolition of the “very ugly” building advocates replacing it "with something we can be proud of".