Hopes cinema could return to Sidcup High Street at former site of Blockbuster
PUBLISHED: 11:19 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:19 03 October 2017
The site could share a space with Sidcup Library
The abandoned shell of Sidcup’s former Blockbuster store could be converted into a small cinema, sharing a space with Sidcup Library.
Bexley council announced it had bought the £2million site at 106 High Street in August, sparking speculation it could be turned into flats.
But today the council has revealed it is looking into creating a picture house at the site, whilst sharing the space with Sidcup Library, moving it to a more central position in the town.
Linda Bailey, cabinet member for regeneration and growth said: “It is still early days, but we know that retail habits are changing and that people come to places like Sidcup to visit the fantastic independent traders and meet up with friends. So we want to create new destinations here and across our borough that will ensure local residents enjoy our high streets and that local businesses thrive.
“In the coming weeks, we will be going to the market to find a picture house operator to work with us. We will also start thinking about how the site might operate in practice. We hope to have more news by Christmas.”
In 2000, Sidcup lost its cinema of 86-years, originally opening as The King’s Hall concert venue in 1909 before it was converted into a cinema in 1914.
Throughout the 20th century it operated under the names the Regal Cinema, Cannon and ABC, before it closed on August 16, 2000.
A council spokesperson confirmed any new cinema would be smaller than the former ABC site at 77a High Street.
Peter Craske, member for community safety, environment and leisure, explained why Sidcup Library could move from its location in Hadlow Road: “We already have a great library service in Bexley that we can all be proud of, but it is important that we continue to look for new opportunities. Moving Sidcup Library to this central location, on a shared site with a picture house, would put it right in the heart of the town.
“In Sidcup, we already have a thriving cultural offer with our two brilliant Colleges: Bird and Rose Bruford. A picture house would be great for their students and the wider community. The site we have in mind has good transport links and car parks nearby. I am really excited by the idea of getting a picture house back in the town and I really hope we can pull it off.”
A council spokesperson said: “There are no plans for the current library site at present. Should the relocation plans go ahead, given the general residential nature of Hadlow Road it is likely the site would be redeveloped for that purpose.”