ABC cinema plan for homes and shops moves closer

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Plans to knock down a former cinema which has stood empty for more than 15 years to make way for homes and shops have moved a step nearer.

Planning bosses granted developers PS&S Ltd outline permission for eight flats, six houses and two shops at the former ABC cinema, on Kirkgate, at a meeting yesterday.

The new designs also feature a ‘film strip’ feature front to pay homage to the original art deco design of the old cinema.

Speaking at the meeting Neil Bowen, director at Neil Bowen Artchitects Ltd, said: “We feel that this development could become a landmark on that road, just like the cinema used to be.”

A previous scheme at the site would have seen the cinema replaced with 119 flats, eight shops and a rooftop garden.

But, despite Wakefield Council granting approval in 2009, work never started and the planning permission has now expired.

Mr Bowen added: “The previous proposals were very ambitious and failed because of the sheer scale of them.

“Ours is less than half the size of those proposals and because ours is an unusual building, it also preserves the heritage of the site.”

The application was also welcomed by committee chairman Coun Allan Garbutt.

He told the meeting: “I think the building has a great design and I think it’s a great opportunity to continue the development of that area of the scheme.

A detailed planning application will now be submitted to Wakefield Council and must be approved before work to demolish the former cinema can begin.