Happy New Year Everyone! Here’s an update on the latest developments from the Picture Palace campaign.
Proposed cinema at the Grape & Grain:
Since our last update in December’s Transmitter magazine, Future Projections’ application for a two-screen, 254-seat, cinema at the Grape & Grain and the former car showroom used by the Bigger Picture Gallery (2 and 2a Anerley Hill) has been recommended for conditional approval by Bromley planning officers.
Bromley’s planning committee will determine the application on Thursday 13 January and the officer’s report can be found HERE.
So what will happen if the application at the Grape & Grain is approved and what does this mean for 25 Church Road and the Picture Palace campaign?
Support for the campaign has three elements:
•a desire to restore a cinema to its original building, the best use, size and location for the sustainability and regeneration of the district centre and Church Road;
•a desire to retain an inclusive D2 leisure use at 25 Church Road for cinema, arts or leisure, meeting the needs of the Crystal Palace community;
•a desire to see a good local cinema anywhere in Crystal Palace.
We have always been clear that the campaign is about bringing a cinema to Crystal Palace, recognising that 25 Church Road as a purpose built cinema is the best location. As such, we look forward to Future Projections making public further details of their proposals, so that everyone interested in having a cinema in Crystal Palace can come to an informed view.
What about 25 Church Road?
Following the cinema proposals for both the Grape & Grain and Victory Place, the Picture Palace Campaign wrote to Bromley council in November asking them to liaise with Croydon and Lambeth councils to consider how the potential options for a cinema in Crystal Palace might contribute to the development and regeneration of the district centre.
We also asked the council to consider the possibility of a Compulsory Purchase Order on 25 Church Road.
However, following subsequent helpful and informal discussions, it has become clear that the councils do not have the planning powers to influence the location of a cinema.
A cinema at the top of Anerley Hill would inevitably diminish the prospects for a cinema at 25 Church Road, but until we know more about the viability of Future Projections’ scheme and what it has to offer, our focus will remain on returning this building to its proper use as a cinema.
In a nutshell…
Eighteen months after buying the former Rialto cinema building on Church Road, Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) is still refusing to divulge its plans for how it proposes to exercise its D2 leisure use. We know that KICC has no intention of selling the building and that it is refurbishing the building.
KICC has been unofficially quoted as getting the building “fit for purpose”. Fit for what purpose? This is the question we would like to see answered. Will the use of the building benefit the local community at all? KICC says it wants to serve the local community but we have yet to see any evidence of that. Indeed, given its stance to date, it appears that KICC isn’t considering local needs at all. Our fear is that once 25 Church Road is put into active use by KICC, it will be lost forever.
The campaign is currently seeking legal advice on planning and licensing issues so that we can respond to any plans which KICC puts forward for the building. We are also following up with our local MPs about the deferred meeting with KICC. Let’s hope KICC is not too busy to meet in February.
Why the campaign must go on
Regardless of whether a cinema arrives elsewhere, we shall continue to campaign for an inclusive leisure and entertainment use at 25 Church Road. We want a building use which reflects the needs of local people and contributes to the regeneration of the Triangle. The issues which 3,500 of you (as local residents and traders) raised in your objections to KICC’s application for change of use to a church are still very relevant.
In the coming months, as we see how alternative cinema proposals play out, we shall be asking you how you want the campaign to go forward. In the meantime, we’ll update you with all the latest news as it happens.
If you wish to discuss any of these points further, or have other comments, please contact us at [email protected] or take part in the discussion on Virtual Norwood