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Cinemas in Forest Hill/Lewisham

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Joined N/A
Posted on Thursday, 04 December, 2003 - 04:26 pm:   

Hi all i dont know how all you feel but lewisham is the only or second to one borough that does not have a cinema (not one!). How can we regenerate this borough if there seems to be no plans for a cinema anywhere NEAR YOU. I would personally travel to a cinema and not with a car.. forest hill used to have 3 cinemas! one on dartmouth road (now wok express), the capital and one of stanstead road. If clapham or brixton can sustain a cinema i truly think we can.... the coronet in elephant and castle have relaunched the cinema as a club/theatre/events and cinema... i wonder if there is anyway we can get the capitol to redesign the inside so we can still use it... never say never eh....
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Posted on Thursday, 04 December, 2003 - 09:53 pm:   

I think the reasons we have no cinemas in Lewisham is that no-one actually went to them when they were there and hence they were no longer viable. Until last year or so there was one in Catford, and a few years ago one in Lewisham.
I would support the idea of a local cinema be it general or independent but don't think it will happen. There may however be some potential for a cinema club at the newly refurbished Broadway Theatre in Catford- I think they have shown some films in the past. This is a great venue, only a bus ride away, and with some great shows/events but seemingly not well advertised.
Forest HillBilly
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Posted on Saturday, 13 March, 2004 - 10:28 pm:   

I, like the other posters on this thread, am saddened by the demise of the suburban cinema house. I don't know the costs involved in such enterprises, but I would love to see a small, independent facility open locally, perhaps in conjunction with a local bar or restaurant. If such a place had an empty shop next door it could possibly be utilised as a tiny cinema, maybe only a hundred or so seats, maybe only open two or three days a week, maybe only showing modern independent films or old screen classics. A more intimate, nostalgic kind of cinema experience, if you like, than having to listen to half the place stuffing their faces with popcorn and the like. Perhaps any such cinema goers could obtain a small reduction on the price of a meal next door. It would certainly have a degree of uniqueness and might quickly acquire a name for itself. It's a romantic notion, anyhow. As previously stated, I don't know about the practicalities.
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Posted on Monday, 15 March, 2004 - 05:52 pm:   

There are plans for a new cinema in Lewisham! The bus station and massive roundabout in Lewisham High Street are to be replaced by housing and 'possibly' bars, restaurants and a multiplex. Also Debenhams are building a new store on an adjacent site. Hurrah!

Let's just hope when/if it opens that people use it and make it a going concern. Businesses can't be expected to provide facilities that are not commercially viable.
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Posted on Monday, 15 March, 2004 - 05:53 pm:   

PS Saw this news on the front page of the News Shopper (or whatever that free paper is called) and also here
Forest HillBilly
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Posted on Monday, 15 March, 2004 - 11:43 pm:   

Nichola, sorry, but any bars likely to be built on a suburban roundabout will invariably be run by the big breweries and customised by guys who look very confused and for that matter, short fused... and women who look very available.....the quantity is not the issue, it's the quality that counts, as ive told every woman ive ever met! Jeez!
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Posted on Tuesday, 16 March, 2004 - 08:46 am:   

I had a look at this report and it seems a bit improbable.This roundabout is an extreemly busy junction at all times of the day and while it isn't perfect it seems rather necessary. The Bus station was only modernised a few years ago and also you now have the DLR station there. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of room for lots of housing etc. As for a cinema, there used to be two cinemas in Lewisham. The Lewisham Odeon was second only to the Hammersmith Odeon in size and decor and was a listed building.People wanted to do things with it when it closed as a cinema but the council wouldn't allow it as it WAS a listed building, then it was demolished to enable the new road scheme including the aforementioned 'Roundabout'.
There was an newly built small multi screen cinema in the centre of Greenwich which closed last year after only a few years operation, no doubt forced out of business by the huge 14 screen multiplex built on the Greenwich Peninsula site as part of the project to redevelop the area around the Millennium Dome so I don't hold out much hope for any other new cinemas.
I wonder what makes Debenhams think that they can succeed where The Army and Navy, the Co-op and C&A failed in Lewisham.
Sorry to sound so negative but as a long time resident of the Borough I've seen 'em come and seen 'em go and I'm just being realistic.
The Other Brian
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Posted on Monday, 22 March, 2004 - 06:03 pm:   

Isn't the balcony empty in The Capitol? Perhaps Weatherspoons could use some imagination and offer it as a film space - after all, the pub is a converted cinema. However, not a likely proposition.
Also, the old Greenwich Cinema is currently being refurbished and according to the notices, will shortly be reopening as one of the Picture House group, the same people who run the excellent Ritzy and Clapham Picture House.
Joined N/A
Posted on Tuesday, 13 April, 2004 - 06:37 pm:   

It's quite interesting looking at the planning applications you can find online at for things like this. There wasn't anything I could find on a proposed retail/cinema development at the roundabout in Lewisham (though I should point out Forest HillBilly that I think the article meant that the roundabout would be removed and the road diverted and as such any bars/restaurants wouldn't be on the roundabout!) but there are various old planning applications for the old ABC Cinema in Catford. One dating back to end of 2002 was to retain cinema on levels 1 & 2 with bar on ground floor (rejected because of neighbouring residents objections) and one in June 2003 was for 'a conference centre, exhibition hall, career training facilities, public worship, counselling services and library, together with ancillary creche and bookshop facilities'. Various objections to this - mainly based around people wanting it to stay as a cinema (even though it was acknowledged in the report that it was unlikely a cinema operator would take the building on!) and concerns about the church part of it not appealing to a wide enough section of society. And now the building lies empty.....
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Posted on Friday, 30 April, 2004 - 06:32 pm:   

The Other Brian - I worked in The Capitol for over a year when it first opened and I can safely say it is NOT going to happen.

Firstly, the decor at the top has been untouched as the builders did not have permission as it is a listed building. It's the same decor they wer using in the 30's so it's kind of history that they do not want destroyed.

Also, there would be no way for customers to actually access the upstairs. The gangways are now home to huge air conditioning units and pipes as big as you or me. These are bolted to the floor. For people to gain access to the upstairs you'll need to climb over these units and that's a pain for anyone even working there.

If you're still skeptical, stand as close as you can to the bar and look up directly at the middle. You'll just notice the top of a silver tube which runs down the gangway and provides AC to the downstairs.

Joined N/A
Posted on Friday, 04 June, 2004 - 02:49 am:   

Makes sense - one thing I could say about the Capitol is that the air-conditioning is awesome. I have never come away from there smelling of smoke, and I'm a smoker!
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Posted on Friday, 04 June, 2004 - 02:53 am:   

And a P.S. - I was more involved in local issues back when the cinema was vacant and the story I heard then was that a major company held the lease and would only approve non-cinematic uses of the building. A Rank decision if you ask me.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Saturday, 29 April, 2006 - 11:52 pm:   

Update: This is now called Lewisham Gateway. The plans for the revised Lewisham Town Centre have at last been given to the London Development Agency and then the council for their approval.

It's pimarily a road scheme that scraps the roundabout so there's only one road between the station and town centre. This will allow the land between Rennell St upto Lewisham Station to be developed, which means the bus station will move.

Included will be quite high buildings, retail/bars etc at ground level, a proposed cinema at the 1st level. Then above that about 800 apartments. There will also be a plaza and park or a bit of grass, depending on your viewpoint. There is also a vacant lot for Lewisham College but if that doesn't happen then the option of a hotel may be considered.

As for Debenham's...that was/is planned for the north end of the existing shopping centre. Building Debenham's was due to start January 2005 to open in 2007 but ownership of the shopping centre changed who are/were reviewing plans.

Discussions about about changing the road scheme began in 1999 before the current road scheme had been completed.

There is a Lewisham Gateway website, but it only has 1 page.
Joined 18-04-2005
Posted on Sunday, 30 April, 2006 - 02:39 pm:   

When I was young back in the 60's there was the ABC Capitol, FH , Granada SE 26 , Granada Upp Norwood,Odean Penge all in waling distance.
I understand in the 30's there were more than double that number

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