Controversial plans to turn former Bristol cinema into flats withdrawn

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The developers have pulled the proposals at the eleventh hour

Controversial plans to turn a former cinema in Redfield into flats have been withdrawn.

Bristol city councillors were due to decide the application to convert the art deco building in Church Road into apartments, along with a bar, cafe, gym, communal workspace and tiny cinema, on Wednesday afternoon (April 10).

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But developers Landrose have pulled the proposals at the eleventh hour.

Planning officers were recommending that the cross-party development control committee refuse permission because of a dire shortage of parking, while a total of 921 residents lodged objections.

These included Save Redfield Cinema campaigners who are fighting the plans for St George’s Hall, previously a pub, which would have seen 13 shared “co-living” flats with 42 bedrooms.

The group wants the building brought back into use as a community cinema and says Landrose’s proposed 46-seat cinema would have been too small to survive as a business.

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Instead, campaigners are hoping for a three-screen cinema, each having between 80 and 200 seats – eight times bigger than the one submitted in the plans – to be run by a community interest company, with a separate property developer building some homes on the site to help fund the project.

It is not known what will happen next – the company could either go back to the drawing board and come up with fresh designs more likely to be approved or sell the site, which is protected as an Asset of Community Value that gives locals the option to buy it if it goes on sale.

St George’s Hall opened as a cinema in 1912 before expanding 15 years later.

It shut in 1961 and became a bingo hall, followed by a Wetherspoons pub in the 1990s before that also closed in 2021, when Landrose bought the site.

The state of the building has since deteriorated.

World-famous Bristol actor Stephen Merchant is among the supporters of the campaign to reopen the cinema.

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