Whiteladies Road cinema plans submitted to Bristol City Council
18 February 2014
PLANS have been submitted and an operator announced as the dream of a return for a cinema on Whiteladies Road moves closer to becoming a reality.
Owners of the former ABC cinema, which has laid derelict for more than a decade, want to restore the building to its former glory with a main auditorium seating 320 people.
Operator Everyman has been chosen to run the cinema if the plans, submitted to council last week, are approved.
The cinema will have three screens, a central licenced bar, food and hospitality area as well as a private screening room. The plans also include six flats.
Everyman will lease the building and bring it back into use as early as autumn 2015 if a planning application for alterations to the building is successful.
Melanie Brooks, spokesperson for Medinbrand, said a recent consultation conducted by the company had found overwhelming support for the plans.
She said 100 per cent of respondents were in favour of reopening the cinema although some expressed reservations about parking.
Ms Brooks said: “We are obviously overwhelmed with the results of the consultation and it proves how much demand there is for the cinema to be restored.
“People are really passionate about it and keep telling me how much they are looking forward to be able to walk to a local cinema once again.
“We hope that our planning application can be determined as quickly as possible so we can get on with the first steps of restoring the building.”
Andrew Myers, CEO of Everyman Media Group, added: “We are really excited about the opportunity to bring such a fantastic cinema and building back to life.
“This could be the first Everyman cinema in the South West and we hope it will become a real asset to an area of Bristol that clearly shares our ethos of community and culture.
“We will strive to create a centre of entertainment activity and, very much like our existing cinemas, become something that is valued by people across the city and even further afield.”
The plans include six one bedroomed and two-bedroomed flats on the upper floors of the building.
It will not affect the Cowshed, which has recently expanded into the restaurant at the front of the building.
Several campaigns have been organised in a bid to get the cinema reopened in the past. Other high-profile plans for the derelict buildings have fallen through at various stages.
Initial plans by owners Medinbrand to convert the building into a gym and flats were finally buried at a public inquiry held last January.
Elected mayor George Ferguson was one of the most vocal opponents of the scheme and spoke out at the public inquiry.
The decision to reject the much-criticised proposals came after a five-day public inquiry which was held last January.
The inquiry was held after Medinbrand appealed against the council’s decision to reject planning permission for a conversion into six flats and a gymnasium operated by Pure Gym.
Whiteladies Picture House has been campaigning separately for the former ABC cinema to be restored and were vocal opponents of Medinbrand’s previous plans to turn the building into a gym.
Before Medinbrand announced its new plans Whiteladies Picture House raised more than £10,000 from the publis for detailed conceptual artwork to be produced ahead of launching their own plans.
The artwork is now complete and the group are set to hold their own public consultation.
Member of the group have previously said they were pleased that their pressure had helped Medinbrand make a U-turn and restore the cinema.
A spokesperson also said the group hopes its own plans can still be incorporated into the restoration.
Speaking about the recently completed drawings, the group said: “We were really blown away by the amount of attention to detail in the 25 additional 3D architectural plans which have been completed, in addition to the 3 pen and ink drawings.
“This represents 100s of hours of work and, although it has taken longer than hoped, we think they were well worth the wait.”