A LANDMARK Bury building will be reduced to rubble if an ambitious plan to redevelop the site of the former Sol Viva nightclub is given the go-ahead.
Thornfield Properties (Bury) Ltd wants to demolish the former nightspot and cinema in Rochdale Road and to provide four new modern restaurant-cafe units which could create up to 86 new jobs. Also planned is a covered walkway.
The company has submitted a planning application to Bury Council and hopes the units will be occupied by national chain restaurants not currently represented in the town centre.
Research by the developer has already identified a number of restaurant operators who have an expressed an interest in the scheme, given its close proximity to leisure facilities on The Rock.
The building operated as the Odeon cinema from 1936 until 1981, became The Arena roller skating rink and subsequently The Roxy and Sol Viva nightclubs.
It was a well-known and popular entertainment venue for generations of Bury people.
In a statement submitted to Buy Council in support of the application, Thornfield’s agents, GVA, says: “The site is the final underdeveloped building that forms part of The Rock retail and leisure scheme and will complete the links between The Rock and the wider town centre.
“The four units will be linked by a covered, shared space area. External customer seating areas are proposed within the covered area with a pedestrian walkway running through the site.
“As well as improving links to the town centre, improving the restaurant and evening economy offer at The Rock will strengthen the town centre as a whole as a family-orientated retail and leisure destination.
“The current proposed restaurant uses, therefore, remains the only viable option to achieve a substantive development in a key transition area of the town centre between the traditional shopping areas towards the Mill Gate centre and The Rock development to the north.”
However, it seems that many people in the town want the building retained.
Bury resident Patricia Crossley says she has been in dialogue with several people via Facebook.
She said: “There has been a veritable storm of objections to the demolition of the old Odeon cinema, latterly Sol Viva. The town has already lost Hornby Buildings just, it seems, to widen walkways and provide advertising hoardings.
“Now, this art deco example is destined to become a collection of cafes and fast food outlets. How many of these does a town need?”
l The application is due to be considered at the next meeting of Bury Council’s planning committee on November 13.