New plans for Bognor’s Picturedrome

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NEW plans are being compiled to build a new screen at Bognor Regis’ cinema.

Town council architects are drawing up two schemes for an extension to the Picturedrome to house a 130-seat auditorium.

These proposals will be submitted to councillors to decide which will be best for their £850,000 scheme.

The work follows informal criticism of the current proposals by Arun District Council.

Town council clerk Glenna Frost said the latest designs were needed to meet the advice of Arun’s historic building advisor in light of the historic cinema’s status as a Grade II-listed building.

“The revised scheme will ensure a more tenuous link between the existing cinema and the extension by use of glass panelling between the two sections.

“Of the two schemes now being prepared, one will continue to be of a significantly brick construction.

“The second will take the advice from the heritage advisor literally and will provide a view of the extension built in more modern lightweight materials, such as sheet steel, which would be materially subservient to the main cinema building.”

Cllr Roger Nash (L, Pevensey) welcomed the work and agreed to Mrs Frost’s recommendation of an extraordinary meeting of the town council for its members to decide their favoured scheme.

As reported, the town council – which owns the Picturedrome in Longford Road – wants to increase the number of films which can be shown there by adding an extra screen to the existing two. A second storey could be added later to include a community space.

The town council is employing consulting architect Aegis Consultancy to draw up the plans to add extra space behind the present building.

But the need to take account of the 19th-century building’s nature as one of the town’s most historic structures means listed building consent is needed as well as planning permission.

Aegis asked Arun’s historic building advisor, Dr Ian Wightman, for his opinion about its current drawings.

He said they were better than the initial ones but two issues remained. One was the extension’s impact on the current building. The other concerned the use of red brick which could create a large a structure, potentially unsympathetic to the building.

The cinema’s tenant is to create an extra 45-seat screen in the tower. Work should start soon.