Wakefield’s former ABC cinema was confirmed for demolition yesterday, despite objections that its potential is being wasted.
Planning officers granted consent to Wakefield Council for demolition on July 27, after the council announced it would demolish the Art Deco building in June.
More than 50 objections were lodged against the plans on the planning application.
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One objector said: “This building has been around as long as I can remember and is a huge part of Wakefield, it should be preserved back to its former glory for the community to use and visitors alike to admire.
“It has been an eyesore for so long and is a big site which shouldn’t be sold off to developers for more flats to be built. The building is part of our history. It needs to stay and continue to be a part of our future too.”
The former cinema, first opened in 1935, has stood empty for more than for over 20 years. It was purchased by Wakefield Council in 2020.
After exploring options, Wakefield Council said in June that surveys of the building had determined it beyond saving.
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The Cinema Theatre Association (CTA), which advocates protecting old cinema buildings, also stated its opposition to the demolition.
Rob Chesterfield a caseworker at the CTA, said: “We wish to object strongly to this application to completely demolish this important cinema and replace it with a temporary green open space.
“We recognise that the cinema is in poor condition, but feel much more could be done to incorporate it in any new development of the area.”
The CTA would like to see the building developed into a space for live music or conferences, and have cited the transformation of Bradford’s old cinema as inspiration.
Some residents supported the demolition plans, calling the cinema an “eyesore” that had stood derelict for too long.
When the council announced they would demolish the cinema last month, Cllr Darren Byford, Cabinet member for Economic Growth, Regeneration and Property, said: “Kirkgate is a key gateway into the city and the demolition of the ABC building will immediately improve the appearance of the area as well as supporting our plans to regenerate the area and bring additional investment to Wakefield.
“We’ve shared the concerns of residents about the disused and derelict state of the ABC Cinema building and it is an issue we’ve been tackling with a series of owners for many years.
“The Council purchased the building last year and since then we’ve been considering all the options for its future and how Kirkgate can be involved in the wider regeneration of this part of the city.
“We are keen to look at how the site can support our ambitions for the area, and look forward to seeing the architects’ proposals.”
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