Blackpool Odeon Cinema proposals due to go before town hall planners

Plans which could bring the curtain down on Blackpool's Odeon Cinema are being recommended to get the go ahead when they go before councillors.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 12:40 pm

The scheme, first revealed in January this year, would see the building at Festival Park on Rigby Road converted to a family entertainment centre.

Astringer Capital, which owns Festival Park, says the cinema's lease is due to run out in June next year and it needs proposals in place to fall back on in case it is not renewed.

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Artist's impression of the Odeon Cinema if it is converted into a family entertainment centre

Another cinema is also due to open in Blackpool in autumn 2023 as part of the second phase of the Houndshill Shopping Centre which is currently being built in Tower Street.

If it gets approved, the Odeon could be used in future for any number of leisure uses with activities including bowling, trampolining, crazy golf, arcade games, climbing walls and indoor sports such as tennis or five-a-side football being put forward.

One operator would run the whole venue, even if it contained different leisure opportunities.

Permission is also being sought for external changes to the building including the addition of two food and drink outlets, which has been reduced from four which were initially sought.

The Odeon Cinema

The number of parking spaces would be reduced from 497 to 486, including 13 with electric vehicle charging points.

Town hall planners are recommending the application is approved when it goes before the Planning Committee on Tuesday July 26, after concerns the scheme might clash with the £300m Blackpool Central development were dismissed.

A report to the committee says: "The applicant is willing to accept a condition that restricts the range of leisure uses to those specified in the statement of intent.

"There is some overlap in the uses proposed in terms of climbing wall provision, nonetheless on balance, subject to a restrictive condition alluded to above, the leisure use would not have an adverse impact on the planned investment at Blackpool Central."

Austringer acquired Festival Park in 2021 and its plans for the site also include developing a new drive-thru Starbucks while work is currently underway to complete the stalled bingo hall project.

The 10-screen Odeon Multiplex opened at Festival Park in December 1998, when Jane Horrocks and Brenda Blethlyn attended a VIP screening of their film Little Voice.