‘Critical moment’ as dozens attend packed-out meeting over revised plans for Redfield Cinema

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Developers plan to divide the Art Deco cinema into 13 HMO ‘cluster units’ comprising 44 en-suite bedrooms

More than 200 residents have opposed revised plans to turn the Redfield Cinema on Church Road into 44 bedsits and a commercial gym.

Developers Landrose plan to divide the Art Deco cinema into 13 HMO ‘cluster units’ comprising 44 en-suite bedrooms with communal kitchens, as well as a gym and communal workspace facilities. A commercial space for a small ‘boutique cinema’ is also proposed.

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The fresh application was submitted on December 22 and has already received more than 200 objections.

At a packed public meeting, members of Save Redfield Cinema Campaign discussed the future of the 110-year-old cinema at the back of the St George’s Hall building, which was previously a Wetherspoon pub until it closed in 2021.

There has been fierce opposition from local residents and the developers withdrew its original plan last year after it received nearly 1,000 objections.

Campaigners say the revised designs are not much better than the original plans, and many want to see the building turned into a community space and cinema with less housing. The cinema first opened as a silent movie theatre in 1912 and was later a Granada cinema.

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Lindsey Garwood of the Save Redfield Cinema Campaign said the campaign had now reached a ‘really critical moment’ but momentum to stop the development is gathering and the number of objections is rising every day.

She said: “I think developers often rely on apathy so we need to keep the campaign going but we have plenty of energy and support to do that.

There was a huge turnout for the public meeting in Redfield There was a huge turnout for the public meeting in Redfield
There was a huge turnout for the public meeting in Redfield | Lindsey Garwood

“The public meeting was very well attended, we had a great reception and people were coming up to us after saying it was very inspiring.

“We have had lots of people since the meeting wanting to volunteer in various ways, whether that’s handing out flyers or offering their skills, which is brilliant.

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“This was the first time we’ve shown our hand and stated our vision. We have serious supporters from politicians to business people saying they do think our vision is realistic and we feel much more confident in arguing our case. We had some great comments about our vision so we know we’re on the right track.”

Save Redfield Cinema are campaigning to keep the building as a community assetSave Redfield Cinema are campaigning to keep the building as a community asset
Save Redfield Cinema are campaigning to keep the building as a community asset | Redfield Cinema

Lindsey said the new plans made by the developers were ‘superficial’ and similar to the previous one.

She said: “In a way, I think that’s in the campaign’s favour. I was there on the night Landrose did their consultation in the St George’s Hall and people were coming out of there furious because they felt they weren’t being listened to and they were being talked to quite disrespectfully, they felt angered.

“It’s such an outrageous planning application with so little change from the last one. They’ve said perhaps they can use some of the old seats from the cinema but that’s not even in their plans. It’s just pulling the wool over people’s eyes and pure tokenism.

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“We now need the 1,000 people who objected last time to object again and we need people to talk to us so we’re doing online and in-person meetings so residents can discuss things.

Artist impression of the boutique cinema proposed as part of the developmentArtist impression of the boutique cinema proposed as part of the development
Artist impression of the boutique cinema proposed as part of the development | sd

“People often feel quite powerless in these situations and think developers will get their way but I think this is one instance where we aren’t powerless. This is the kind of campaign where every voice and every opinion is heard. The more local people who object, the better.

“We all know we need housing but there is plenty of housing being built nearby. Why take the largest building on the high street and one with a heritage cinema that’s been in public use for more than a century?”

One of the new volunteers to sign up to help the campaign is Claire. She said: “Church Road is undergoing a transformation and attracting new independent businesses, but we are lacking a community space and St George’s Hall is perfect.

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“To lose it to bedsits would be criminal. We have an opportunity to breathe new life into this gorgeous building and return it to its rightful place as a centre for the community.”

The planning application will be decided by Bristol City Council in the coming months. It can be viewed and commented on by visiting the council’s planning portal here and using the reference number 22/06037/F.

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