Hopes high for planned cinema and library in Sidcup
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 March 2018
Eighteen years after the town lost its cinema, hopes are high that Sidcup is on track to gain a new one.
The council is working with ArtHouse, an established operator of a popular small cinema, on a proposal for a three-screen cinema that could be co-located with a modern library on the site of the town’s former Blockbuster store.
Based on experience in Blackfen, usage of the library is likely to increase significantly if it moves to such a prime high street location.
Co-location would lead to the creation of a state-of-the-art library, in line with the council’s commitment to invest in modern and improved facilities.
The cinema’s programme would reflect the local market and demographics and is expected to include extra cultural activities, such as music and comedy events, which will boost the town’s evening economy.
Cllr Linda Bailey, the borough’s cabinet member for regeneration and growth, said: “If it’s approved, the scheme will revive the site, bring more people into the town, support existing businesses and help attract complementary activities to improve the high street.
“The growth of online shopping and expansion of major centres like Bluewater means the traditional role of high streets is changing.”
The scheme is also part of the council’s drive to expand the town as a centre for the performing arts.
Sidcup’s theatre and performing arts institutes, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance and Bird College, strongly welcome the plans.
Shirley Coen, principal of Bird College said: “An art house cinema is an exciting proposition for the residents of Sidcup, and for our students.
“It represents further recognition of the significance of culture and the performing arts in Sidcup and clearly puts down a marker for our ambitions to build on the strong cultural foundation created by the two colleges.
“Having the cinema and a library on the same site provides lots of collaborative opportunities.”
If Sidcup Library is co-located with the cinema, the current library site would be available for redevelopment.
Given the location, it is most likely this would be for residential use.
Both proposals will require planning approval, with full details shared with interested parties and public consultation before any work begins.