Who are the Picture Palace Campaign?
The Picture Palace Campaign started on 24 June 2009, after a group of local residents, traders and ward councillors met to discuss the secret sale of the Gala bingo hall, 25 Church Road (originally built as the Rialto Cinema), to Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) a religious charity. To secure the site, KICC had narrowly outbid independent cinema operator City Screen which runs Picturehouse Cinemas in Brixton, Clapham, Greenwich, Hackney and elsewhere in the UK.
The private sale had come out of the blue and many felt the cultural and economic benefits of bringing a cinema to Crystal Palace had not been considered properly. Local people had been lobbying to bring a cinema to Crystal Palace for many years. The former Rialto was built as a cinema in 1928 and still retains many original features; it is the perfect location.
In August 2009, KICC announced that they intended to turn the venue into a Place of Worship (D1 planning use) despite the fact that the building has a designated D2 planning use for leisure, taking the building out of leisure use for the first time in over eighty years.
Change of use was refused at planning committee by Bromley council on 17 December 2009 after thousands of locals objected to KICC’s planning application.
The campaign committee is made up of people who live, work and trade in the area. We come from a range of backgrounds including the creative and cultural industries. The committee has nine members:
Annabel Sidney (Chair)
In 2013, we set up Cinema for Crystal Palace Ltd, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, to act as the legal personality and corporate body of the Picture Palace Campaign. Correspondence should be addressed to the Chair via the registered office.
The focus of our work is to bring a cinema to Crystal Palace and ideally back to 25 Church Road should it become available again.