New bid to turn former Odeon into flats

PUBLISHED: 17:20 14 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:12 06 May 2010

The art deco facade of the old Odeon

The art deco facade of the old Odeon

ANOTHER bid to demolish the former Odeon cinema in St Albans and replace it with a block of flats has been launched by developers Wattsdown. They have submitted their latest plans to replace the building in London Road with 14 flats. It is the most recent

ANOTHER bid to demolish the former Odeon cinema in St Albans and replace it with a block of flats has been launched by developers Wattsdown.

They have submitted their latest plans to replace the building in London Road with 14 flats.

It is the most recent move in a five-year saga during which the developers have seen three applications and two planning appeals rejected.

Since the last proposals, the number of flats proposed for the site has dropped from 20 to 14, and the size of the building has been reduced.

Wattsdown say they have revised the design of the building which a Government planning inspector rejected at an appeal in June last year on the grounds that there was no coherence in the design and it would fail to preserve the character of the Conservation Area.

The cinema has been closed since 1995 and campaigners have attempted to get the help of entrepreneur James Hannaway -- who revived the 1930s' Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted - to redevelop the Odeon.

Marion Hammant of St Albans Civic Society said they were against the housing plans as the Odeon was one of the few examples of art deco style in St Albans, and it was historically important as it had replaced a cinema built by British film maker Arthur Melbourne Cooper which was one of the first ever cinemas.

She felt people needed to ask themselves if the replacement building was as much of an icon as what was there. And it was sad that in the interests of putting up yet another block of flats, a link with history would be destroyed.

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