Campaign - Whiteladies Picture House
At our branch meeting in May 2012, Alan Mandel-Butler and David Fells - joint directors of the Whiteladies Picture House Project - came to address the branch.
Their project's focus is the former cinema on Whiteladies Road in Bristol.
The Picture House was opened in 1921 and originally housed 1,300 people in the main auditorium and was built in the Art Deco style of the era with marble pillars and floors, an original sprung ballroom and the most incredible ornate plasterwork. Many of these original features still exist today. It ran successfully for 80 years before Odeon Cinemas closed it and placed a restrictive covenant on it, preventing it from being used as a cinema or for any theatrical means.
However, the Whiteladies Picture House campaign are proposing to reopen the Picture House as a centre for the arts, where cinema, theatre, comedy and a multitude of different performing arts can thrive. Whiteladies Picture House now have an exclusive agreement that would remove the restrictive covenant if they are permitted to develop the site.
After hearing the amount of work that Alan and David have put into the project, the branch voted unanimously to support them.
Since then, at a recent City Development meeting, the latest proposal put forward by the site's current owner for a flats and gym development was unanimously refused. Our own branch chair, Matthew Roberton, had addressed this meeting and we feel that our involvement had a significant impact on the decision. You can find an article covering these events by clicking here.
Following this meeting it was decided that the branch should write an open letter to the Development Management at Bristol City Council applauding their decision. Please find the letter by clicking here. Part of this letter was reproduced in the letter's page of The Bristol Post. A scan of the newspaper can be found here.
Despite the development application now being refused three times, the current owners of the site appealed the decision.
The public enquiry into this appeal was heard in February 2013. An account of the inquiry can be found here: www.whiteladies-picturehouse.com/2013/02/04/public-inquiry/
We expect the verdict soon.