St Albans Odyssey cinema plans get green light

The Odyssey Cinema on London Road

The Odyssey Cinema on London Road - Credit: Archant

THE curtain has been raised on plans to revive the city’s derelict cinema after an application to begin restoring the building to its former glory was approved.

Movie-lovers could be enjoying the long-awaited Odyssey in London Road in less than 12 months, now the part change of use and external works were given the green light for completion by St Albans council planning officers last Friday.

Also in the pipeline for the art-deco picture house is a new shopfront and restaurant which will be just off the main foyer.

The eaterie will operate in keeping with the projected cinema’s opening hours and will close at 11pm Mondays to Saturdays and 10.30pm on Sundays and public holidays.

Although in a conservation area, planning permission was given as the future work was considered “in line with the character and appearance of the listed building”, and would preserve the street scene that is already populated by pubs and takeaway.

Additional car parking is not considered necessary given that The Maltings and London Road car parks are nearby and the city centre, St Albans City and Abbey train stations and bus routes are all within walking distance.

James Hannaway, owner of the Odyssey and its sister site the Berkhamsted Rex, said of the plans: “Now that we have been able to get a good look at the interior, we can prioritise repairs and restoration and discuss the crucial lighting design inside the original 1932 covings and in the ceiling itself.

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“It is the rake and vast scale of the ground space that is so breathtaking. This is the first stage of real excitement, where we can finally see it begin to grow and evolve from day to day. While it’s not all fun yet; there is the small matter of that £400,000 (plus) still to find. But first cheers are not far off.”