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Crystal Palace cinema campaigners object to church plans

PUBLISHED: 13:54 14 September 2011

Members of the Picture Palace Campaign want a cinema in Church Road

Members of the Picture Palace Campaign want a cinema in Church Road

© Andy Bodycombe

Campaigners who want to see a former art deco cinema restored have objected to development plans by its current owner.

Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) bought the Gala Bingo Hall, which was the Rialto picture house, in Church Road, Crystal Palace, in June 2009.

Now it wants to install an advertising hoarding on the side of the building and add a canopy which campaign group Picture Palace Campaign (PPC) say will damage the architectural integrity of the 1928 building.

A PPC spokesman said: “This is the best and only example in Crystal Palace of an art deco cinema. It has architectural and historical merit, particularly in its detailing.

“KICC has a unique opportunity to restore 25 Church Road to its former glory and make it a showpiece and benchmark for quality for Church Road and the town centre.

“Once the building has been badly restored another piece of our heritage will have been lost forever.”

Thousands of people signed a petition against an application by KICC to change the use of the building from leisure to worship. Bromley Council refused the proposals in December 2009.

The church then said it “did not want to fight” the residents of Crystal Palace and wanted the community to make use of the building.

But the campaigners have accused KICC of refusing to communicate with them. The PPC has urged residents to object to any planning applications by the church as a matter of priniciple.

The spokesperson added: “The campaign of objection should continue until such time as KICC recognises that our views and wishes can no longer be ignored.”

A KICC spokesman was unavailable as the Times went to press.

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