OFFICERS at West Lancashire Borough Council have recommended that proposals to modify the former Regal Cinema building in Ormskirk to make way for a retail unit, cafe, student accommodation and gym be passed with conditions.
However residents have reacted with anger to the proposals on the Champion’s social media pages.
The proposals will be heard at the borough council’s Planning Committee this Thursday (April 22).
The Church Street building, which was recently occupied on the ground floor by Poundstretcher, was built in 1936 and opened as The Regal Cinema. The Regal closed in 1963, then became a bingo hall and a Tesco supermarket in 1965.
The present application includes proposals to part demolish and extend number 37 Church Street only (former Poundstretcher site) and build a part four five storey building comprising of a mixed use ground floor including retail unit along Church Street, a cafe/restaurant to the rear, private student gym and student accommodation, a further retail unit on the lower ground floor to the rear and three floors of student accommodation above.
In the development there are two units proposed. One of these would have a frontage at ground floor along Church Street and the second unit at lower ground floor creating a new frontage to the rear facing the car park. The cafe/restaurant would be situated at the rear of the ground floor.
The student accommodation would see 74 bedrooms over four floors.
In planning documents for the meeting, a council officer states: “I consider the provision of four student bedrooms on the ground floor whilst retaining a commercial use and active commercial frontage to be acceptable in this town centre location.
“Provided adequate noise attenuation measures are installed there would not be an undue impact on the amenities of future occupiers of the proposed development. Continued inside
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“The proposed development will not harm the vitality and viability of the town centre. Based on the reduced scale I do not consider the replacement building will cause harm to the character or appearance of the Ormskirk Town Centre Conservation Area or the street scene.”
However, the recommendation has been met with dismay by many residents. Carole Davies wrote on our social media page: “Such a shame we couldn't have had a local cinema within this complex.”
While Naomi Bowditch added: “Can we stop putting student accommodation in all the historical buildings of Ormskirk!
“Surely it's time to invest some of the money into something that will attract people into Ormskirk like a cinema. Something for the residents!?”