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A Cinema for Crystal Palace?
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Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2009
Post: #1
09-07-2009 02:42 PM

Although this is not directly a Forest Hill issue, I hope there will be lots of people in the area who will support this petition.

The old Bingo Hall on Church Road, Crystal Palace, came up for sale recently and an Evangelical Church outbid the group who run the Brixton Ritzy and Clapham Picture House. This petition is to defeat the Church's planning application for a 'change of use' for the building, in the hope that it will become a cinema instead. I hope you agree that this would be a much needed resource in Crystal Palace and outlying areas. Please sign!

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Posts: 46
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #2
09-07-2009 07:07 PM

You have my support. Would be a fantastic addition to the area, which we already visit every so often because of all the nice bars and restaurants. A cinema on top of this would be great, particularly as we are unlikely to see one in SE23 any time soon.

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Posts: 17
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #3
10-07-2009 04:34 PM

Yes a cinema would be great, have supported the online petition in the hope they will not get a licence to change the use of the building. Keep us posted as to what happens.

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Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #4
10-07-2009 07:02 PM

It sounds good but there will be traffic generation and parking implications and this should also be factored into the equation and needs to be dealt with somehow. (One of the major issues that defeated the multiplex aspirations of Bromley Council not long ago!) There is absolutely no real evening parking in Crystal Palace (the park closes, as does Sainsburys car park, unless this operates on extended hours ). I know people will say take the bus however thats not realistic for many people and not what really happens. At least Brixton and Clapham are densely populated areas with already excellent public transport links. If like me you've ever stood in the rain on Crystal Palace Parade on a cold February evening at 11pm waiting for the 122 bus, you will perhaps know what I mean!

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Posts: 73
Joined: May 2008
Post: #5
11-07-2009 07:04 AM

I stand at that bus stop in all kinds of weather, and really don't see what the problem is.

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Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #6
11-07-2009 09:48 AM

For 30 minutes late in the evening? Good on you then, you're clearly a lot tougher than I am. I don't like finishing a nice evening standing in the cold and wet or even sitting through a lovely meal dreading getting home on public transport. I don't see the point in going out if you have to worry about all of that as it renders the whole evening's enjoyment void. But then thats just me.

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Posts: 190
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #7
11-07-2009 03:02 PM

What about the train? CP is only a couple of stops from HOP or FH. We often eat at CP and can have a drink of wine without worrying about drinking and driving. On potential audience (moving away from an SE23 perspective) CP is a busy nodal point for bus routes e.g. from West Norwood, Sydenham, Beckenham etc and Brixton and Clapham (especially the latter) are not much easier to park in.

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Posts: 30
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #8
11-07-2009 06:23 PM

I would be overjoyed if Picturehouses opened a cinema in CP! At the moment I end up getting the P4 to the Ritzy, so something much closer to home would be wonderful.

I see your point about parking Roz, but the Ritzy does very well without any parking nearby to speak of. CP is really well served by buses (as is Brixton) and as sandy has mentioned it's also only a couple of stops on the train. I don't quite understand why getting a bus isn't a realistic option. I know that getting around by public transport is something that some people just 'don't do', but I've never really understood why. But then I don't have a car, so I suppose I've no choice!

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Posts: 269
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #9
12-07-2009 03:26 PM

Yep, a cinema there would be fantastic. I don't have a problem with the parking. There are lots of other successful cinemas in the same situation.

Certainly it would be better than a happy clappy church and would serve a far wider portion of the population (and how would the people from the happy clappy church get there anyway??!!).

Fingers crossed it will happen!

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Posts: 73
Joined: May 2008
Post: #10
13-07-2009 06:35 AM

I think once you get a car (we've got one but I don't drive) you do tend to base your social life around it more - because, yes, it is convenient, warm, and nice to take your world with on the way. I notice how that (tendency to think 'can I drive to x, y or z?') happened to us after we got a car in our early 30s, so I try to resist ... and as a non-driver I've always bussed it, so never really got out the habit like my husband did.

Most young people I know in London are non-drivers and majority of the audience in places like the Ritzy seem to be the under 30s, so I don't think that is much of an issue.

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Posts: 271
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
14-07-2009 01:21 PM

If parking limited, then the church would create the kind of chaos we see outside the old snooker hall on Sundays. Maybe it is the 11th commandment, though may park anywhere at all if going to church on the sabbath....

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Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #12
14-07-2009 03:36 PM

I have to say that although I am an atheist who is very critical of religious institutions and although, bus or car allowing, it would be nice to have a replica of the Ritzy in Crystal Palace, I don't feel comfortable in supporting this petition to try and thwart the plans of this particular religious group.
I just think its a bit mean to be honest. Whether a change of use would be granted or not will largely be dictated by planning policy and a petition won't help much as I see it.
If a church or a cinema there will probably still be the same planning issues resulting from attracting people to the building and a religious establishment is more likely to be the less offensive and disruptive option in strict planning terms. However if this is already designated an employment site then it could be argued that a cinema would provide more than the church. Was this building ever a cinema, as many bingo houses tend to be?

I think this action could be read as simply a tug of war between what is very probably a black-led religious group and the overall white Ritzy loving middle classes, (myself included in the latter category).

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Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2009
Post: #13
14-07-2009 07:44 PM

The most recent information on the campaign and background information on the old bingo hall can be found at:

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Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #14
15-07-2009 08:45 AM

Re going by train....the station is on a very steep hill, take hill climbing boots.

There used to be two cinemas on Church Road almost next door to each other. This one became a bingo hall, the other possibly the same or a car showroom.

In Sept 2005 Lewisham's Mayor,Sir Bullock was reportedly extremely angry and said it was "absurd" when the ABC Catford was given permission to become a church.

In that case there were also objections but not on planning issues but on the grounds the church was connected with the child abuse victim Victoria Climbi?.

Members of the Finsbury Park-based Pentecostal organisation appeared as witnesses at the trial of Victoria Climbi?'s great aunt, Marie Therese Kouao, and her boyfriend Carl Manning.

The thing about the cinema's in Church Rd was the 49 bus which was a trolley bus and the toy shop opposite that had a model railway in the window, which was coin operated.

Oddly I was last night I was talking about 'Robin Hood: Men In Tights' in connection with Michael Jackson and remember sitting through the original butch 'Robin Hood' twice at Crystal Palace.

One of them used to have a Sunday afternoon session aimed at teens, where chart songs were played with the bouncing ball over the words.

There's a campaign in Hither Green at the moment to try and save an old cinema building and use it for community use such as theatre and other arty stuff.

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Posts: 269
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #15
15-07-2009 03:54 PM

Roz, please have a look at the website for the campaign to open it as a cinema.

Originally it was the Rialto Cinema, then the Granada cinema. It was a rather grand cinema in its day.

It then reopened as the Granada Bingo hall before being taken over by Gala Bingo, which it remained until very recently.

It has never been a church.

So I'm not sure where the planning issues come from. It was a cinema, it is a cinema building (and potentially quite a nice one).

I will be preparing a 'what if' on this soon. Check out soon to find out what it COULD look like.

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