Blackpool Odeon: Future of cinema unclear as plans unveiled for site

Proposals have been put forward to convert Blackpool’s Odeon cinema into a trampoline park, indoor golf course or bowling alley amid speculation the building may no longer be used as a movie theatre after next year.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 9:34 pm
Updated Friday, 21st January 2022, 10:05 am

According to planning documents, the cinema chain’s lease is due to run out in June 2023 prompting concerns it may not be renewed, unless the screens are upgraded in order to compete with a new cinema complex being built in the resort.

Now Astringer Capital, which owns Festival Park on Rigby Road where the Odeon is based, is seeking planning permission to change the use of the cinema to indoor sport, recreation or fitness with sub-division of the ground floor to provide four food and drink outlets.

There would also be external alterations made to the building and car park.

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A design statement accompanying the application says: “The applicant wants to ensure the building will remain in active use in the event Odeon’s lease is not renewed.”

It adds: “The Odeon cinema is at risk of becoming vacant in June 2023. However, the proposals seek to ensure its continued, effective use, whilst also improving the offer at Festival Leisure Park.”

Documents say other options include upgrading the screens to the Odeon Luxe brand but this “would then compete with and draw trade from the new nine screen cinema that is currently being developed in the town centre at Houndshill shopping centre.”

Work has begun on building a nine-screen cinema including a premium large format screen which is due to open in autumn 2023 as part of phase two of the Houndshill centre on Tower Street.

Austringer acquired Festival Park in 2021 and its plans for the site include developing a new drive-thru Starbucks and completing 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.

It replaced the Odeon on Dickson Road which was bought by entrepreneur Basil Newby and became home to his Funny Girls club.

Odeon has been approached for a comment.