A DISTINCTIVE art deco building which acted as an entertainment magnet for generations of Bury revellers is to disappear.
The former nightspot and cinema in Rochdale Road is to be demolished to make way for four new modern restaurant-cafe units which will create around 85 jobs.
During a meeting of Bury’s planning control committee, which app-roved the application, one councillor bemoaned the loss of the landmark building and its “beautiful” frontage.
Thornfield Properties (Bury) has been given the go-ahead for the development, which includes a covered walkway, and will involve knocking down the disused building which was latterly the Sol Viva nightclub.
It is fondly remembered, however, as the Odeon cinema which originally opened its doors in 1936 before closing in 1981.
The building has been vacant for a number of years, and the remainder of the site was occupied by Hornby Buildings which was demolished and cleared three years ago.
Under the approved plans, the former nightclub and cinema will be bulldozed and a single building constructed to provide 1,545 square metres of restaurant-cafe floorspace, split between four units.
A planning report to the committee stated: “The building was not considered for the local list of historically important buildings, nor is it nationally listed and is not included within the town centre conservation area.
“The existing blank facades contribute little to the vitality of the area and the existing building does not lend itself well to conversion to other appropriate uses. As such, the demolition of the existing building would not harm the character or appearance of the locality.”
Disclosing that restaurant uses have been identified as a gap within the market in Bury town centre, the report continued: “The provision of additional restaurant units within the existing buildings within the Rock development would not be possible due to the cost of installing the required ducting-ventilation equipment and the impact upon the residential units above.
“It is the preference of the developer to locate the proposed restaurant units in close proximity to the existing leisure operators to benefit from linked trips.”
In an earlier statement submitted to the local authority in support of the application, Thornfield’s agents GVA said they hoped the units would be occupied by national chain restaurants not currently represented in the town centre.
GVA spokesman Christopher Argent told the meeting: “We are not having hot food takeaways.”
Cllr Roy Walker said: “If you can make it work, fine,” but added: “The building has a beautiful 1930s cinema frontage. I know that this building is not listed. Knock it down and it’s another piece of Bury gone.”
The former Odeon was purpose-built as a cinema in 1936.The facade, bearing art deco tiles, has been described as an “excellent example of the plain architecture of the 1930s”.