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Campaigners celebrate as plans to demolish Odeon facade scrapped

Posted on - 19th October, 2022 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
Former Odeon Cinema in Church Street Pic: David Calpin
The Odeon facade looks set to be saved

Campaigners are celebrating after plans to demolish the Odeon facade in Preston city centre were scrapped.

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Earlier this month, the application to redevelop the site at 150 Church Street following a huge fire was changed to recommended the retention of the iconic front of the building rather than full demolition.

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A structural inspection report outlines two new options.

One proposal would see the structure behind the facade retained with a temporary infill wall built at the back.

Odeon facade plans with infill wall Pic: Reid Jones Partnership
One option is to build a temporary infill wall behind the surviving structure Pic: Reid Jones Partnership

A second option would be to remove the floors, roof and frame to the rear and only retain the party walls, buttressing walls and foundations of the facade.

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Odeon facade plans Pic: Reid Jones Partnership
A second option involves a temporary facade support structure being created Pic: Reid Jones Partnership

The entrance to the former Evoque nightclub and the commercial building that housed a betting shop and a fast food takeaway on the ground floor of 154 Church Street would also be retained.

This, along with the chosen option from the above the images, would help support the facade until full redevelopment takes place.

Plans to create a surface car park as a temporary measure for the site are still in place, although it would be slightly smaller than originally planned.

Read more: Plans to build temporary car park on site of former Odeon cinema in Preston city centre

A spokesperson for the campaigners said: “We welcome the amended planning application from the owners of the Odeon at 150 Church Street.

“The Odeon plays a key role in Preston’s history, heritage and is part of the city’s collective memory beloved by many cinema, theatre, and nightclub goers.

“The cinema represented the first of the new ‘super-cinemas’ in Preston designed by W. E. Trent opening in 1928 as the New Victoria.

“The surviving section of the building – particularly its tiled, classical facade – mark the last surviving central cinema of any significance from Preston’s West End of theatre, cinemas and dancehalls.”

Read more: Campaign to save the front of former Odeon cinema and Evoque nightclub

The campaigners now hope the Odeon facade can play a focal role in Preston’s future regeneration plans.

The spokesperson continued: “There are growing number of successful developments incorporating facade retention.

“For example Chester’s Storyhouse uses a restored 1930s art deco cinema in an events, library and theatre space, while the Moxy Hotel in Manchester repurposes the facade of a silk works into a new hotel.

“By preserving some of the former foyer or using a retention system, the Odeon’s facade can be saved and incorporated into whatever new development is proposed to the rear of the site.”

The amended planning application (06/2022/0663) can be viewed and commented on via the Preston City Council website.


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