Decision signals end of the movies at Blackpool Odeon

Proposals to convert Blackpool's Odeon Cinema into a family entertainment centre have been passed unanimously by the council's planning committee.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:44 pm

Members expressed sadness at the loss of the 10-screen multiplex which opened at Festival Park on Rigby Road in December 1998.

Coun Andrew Stansfield said: "It is sad to see the cinema going but having said that, I think this scheme will enhance the area far more than a sole cinema would."

Applicant Astringer Capital, which owns Festival Park, said it wanted alternative uses for the building to be in place as the Odeon was unlikely to renew its lease when it expires next June.

Artist's impression of the proposed family entertainment centre

David Smith, who addressed the planning committee on behalf of Astringer, told councillors: "The reason for the application is the Odeon lease is due to expire next year and they are likely to vacate the building.

"The proposals would allow another operator to take over and the proposed use of the building would provide a new experience."

He added: "The change of use of the cinema would remove competition to the cinema at Houndshill and also encourage activity in the new indoor centre."

An extension to the Houndshill Shopping Centre is currently being built on Tower Street with a deal in place with MMC Cinemas for a nine screen, 850 seat, 40,500 sq ft multi-media cinema complex, including the biggest immersive screen in Lancashire.

The change which was approved paves the way for a range of activities including bowling, trampolining, crazy golf, arcade games, climbing walls and indoor sports such as tennis or five-a-side football to be introduced at the site.

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

Town hall planning officers, who had recommended the application was approved, said the investment would not undermine any other regeneration projects in the town including the £300m Blackpool Central scheme.

They added the proposed design would also improve the look of the building, saying "the introduction of glazed shopfronts will provide an active frontage, some animation and add interest to the front elevation which is currently solid and impenetrable other that the main entrance feature. "