Conditional approval for two-screen cinema in Crystal Palace

The possibility of a cinema returning to Crystal Palace came a little nearer on Thursday 13 January 2011, when Bromley council’s development control committee granted conditional planning permission to convert the Grape & Grain public house and Bigger Picture Gallery at the top of Anerley Hill.

There are now three possible cinema venues in the district centre: the 2/2A Anerley Hill conversion, restoration of the purpose-built cinema at 25 Church Road, and wholesale redevelopment of the Victory Place/Carberry Road site on Westow Street.

The Anerley Hill site is the most recent of these proposals. Future Projections, a cinema development and installation company based in West Norwood, applied in October to install a 203-seat cinema into SG Smith’s former car showroom. An ancillary foyer and café bar would be in the building that is now the ground floor of the Grape & Grain, with a 51-seat bijou cinema in the lounge area closest to the Church Road junction. Future Projections’ planning application assures that there would be no increase in height or footprint either of the pub or the showroom.

In granting permission, Bromley has agreed that the cinema can operate seven days a week, but only between the hours of 09:30am and 11:30pm. Development must be started within three years, or the permission will lapse. Future Projections has also been asked to provide more disabled parking spaces and a condition has been placed preventing any further intensification of the site either internally or externally under this current planning permission.

10 councillors voted for the application, 3 against and 4 for deferment.

Future Projections had advised Bromley that it has been in negotiations with the freeholders of SG Smith and the Grape and Grain who have both confirmed their intention to sell or seek alternative lease arrangements. It also confirmed to Bromley that it had no intention of making changes to the first floor accommodation over the pub as a consequence of its application for change of use to D2 “entertainment.”

Future Projections develops and installs cinemas for a range of clients from Everyman cinemas, Working Title, Curzon cinema and City Screen amongst others. Its architects, Burrell Foley Fischer, have an extensive arts based client list including City Screen, and are leaders in the field of cinema and theatre design.

The Picture Palace Campaign is about bringing a cinema back to Crystal Palace, recognising that 25 Church Road as a purpose built cinema is the best location for the economic, social and cultural regeneration of Church Road and Crystal Palace. We look forward to Future Projections making public further details of its proposals, so that everyone interested in having the best possible cinema in Crystal Palace can come to an informed view.

We have asked Future Projections to meet with the Picture Palace Campaign committee to discuss its plans.

Why the campaign must go on

We shall continue to campaign for an inclusive leisure and entertainment use at 25 Church Road. We want this significant building to reflect the needs of local people and contribute to the regeneration of the Triangle and Church Road. The issues which 3,500 local residents and traders raised in our objections to Kingsway International Christian Centre’s (KICC) application for change of use to a church are still very relevant.

Despite the ongoing efforts of the PPC, 18 months after buying 25 Church Road, KICC, which was denied change of use in December 2009, is still refusing to meet MPs and locals to explain its intentions for the former cinema and bingo hall, which remains empty and unused.

In the coming months, as we see how alternative cinema proposals play out and what KICC plans for Church Road, we shall be asking you how you want the campaign to go forward.

If you wish to discuss any of these points further, or have other comments, please contact us at or take part in the discussion on the Virtual Norwood forum.

How you can help the campaign

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One Response to Conditional approval for two-screen cinema in Crystal Palace

  1. Anonymous February 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I’m very upset that this group wants to take over a very successful pub when a better venue is available around the corner. If this site was so useful, why didn’t he apply for it when the previous pub closed down? As much as I would like to see a cinema open in Crystal Palace, if it insists on taking over the Grape and Grain, I will boycott it. And I know a lot of other CAMRA members will too!

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