Future uncertain as Wellington cinema sold
The future of a landmark cinema in Wellington has been thrown back into uncertainty after being bought by new owners.
The former Clifton Cinema has been purchased by Telford Investments, which is surveying the Bridge Road building and deciding what happens next.
Bosses at the company said that it could be reopened as a cinema if the right people came forward to run it, or that it could be used as shops.
They said that there had already been a number of inquiries about retail use.
But if no deal can be made or if no interest is shown, the building could be turned into apartments.
Chris Evans, one of the directors at Telford Investments, said he respected the history of the building.
“I’ve always lived in Telford and I remember going to the cinema at the Clifton,” he said.
“It’s a shame but that’s just how things are moving on.
“Upstairs could still be used for a cinema, but there’s no seating or anything in it. We’ve bought the building, but we’re not sure what we’re doing with it.”
Work has begun on surveying the property, but Mr Evans said it was clear some work would need to be done.
“The Clifton part at the front is the roughest part of the building," he said.
“The front part is where you’ve got asbestos problems and that sort of thing. The rest of it isn’t too bad. It’s empty, so it looks bad.”
Parking in the area has been an issue for shops in the area, Mr Evans said.
“When Aldi opened in 2002, they bought their car park,” he said. “Now they have stopped anyone else parking on it – it for Aldi customers only.
“All the car parks are full. People are parking where they shouldn’t.
“If the car park hadn’t been sold to Aldi, a lot of others shops would still be viable.”
The property, including the now disused Dunelm shop, was going to be largely demolished under plans announced by MCO Marylebone at the end of 2017.
It was going to be turned into 52 apartments and retail space, although the familiar art deco frontage was going to be retained.
But within 18 months of the plans being announced, the building was back on the market. The Clifton was last used as a cinema in the late 1980s.
Campaigners from the Clifton Community Arts Centre group worked to re-open it, but have since begun work on their own Orbit Centre in Station Road.