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Old cinema's fate decided

PUBLISHED: 16:40 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:37 25 August 2010

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A CINEMA which has been lying derelict for eight years has been given the go-ahead to be turned into flats and a restaurant.

A CINEMA which has been lying derelict for eight years has been given the go-ahead to be turned into flats and a restaurant.

Greenwich councillors voted unanimously last Thursday to grant permission for the Cathedral Group to turn the art-deco Coronet cinema in Well Hall Road, Eltham, into 63 residential units.

English Heritage and the Progress Residents' Association back the plans, which include a restaurant based around the foyer of the old cinema, a 60-seater auditorium for Greenwich University and the redevelopment of neighbouring shops.

Eltham North Councillor Dermot Poston, member of the planning board, said: "People who say this is the last chance for the Coronet may be correct.

"Emotionally I agree with the people who want to keep it as a cinema, but after years spent worrying about this building I think this is the right plan. It is generally a good design."

Out of the 1,179 residents who were approached for consultation, only 16 responded, with 11 of these in favour of the plans and five against.

No petitions about the plans were received by the council.

In June 2005 a previous planning application by the Cathedral was accepted by the council, but overturned by the Secretary of State at the time, Ruth Kelly.

This was after Cathedral, which owns the lease on the cinema, were forced to revise their plans at least three times before permission was granted.

Deputy leader of Greenwich council, Peter Brooks said: "The plans will see this semi-derelict site transformed to provide much needed new housing, in addition to new space for retail, business and community use.

"Members of the planning board felt unanimously that this application will greatly assist in the regeneration of the area while providing new opportunities and helping to attract new residents and businesses into the area. Careful thought about the design means that the new development will integrate well with the character of the surrounding area and with the cinema building and its new function and will see the restoration and refurbishment of the front of the cinema to its original condition.

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