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Wellington's landmark Clifton cinema could be converted into apartments and shops

By Mat Growcott | Wellington | Property | Published:

Wellington's landmark Clifton cinema could be converted into 52 apartments and retail space under plans set to be unveiled in a consultation tomorrow.

The Clifton, off Bridge Road, was last used as a cinema in the late 80s, but campaigners have been working to get it back into use over the last few years.

Developers MCO Marylebone said they appreciated the historical relevance of the building and were designing their plans to both protect the site from dereliction and to deliver a "significant investment" into Wellington.

The Clifton

The team behind The Clifton Community Arts Centre group said they were disappointed they couldn't reclaim it as a cinema, but added that they would still pursue the it if it ever became available again.

Simon Miller, director at MCO Marylebone, said: "We've been looking at this for about a year. We've been in discussion with Telford & Wrekin Council and looking at the importance of the building and the facade of the old cinema.

"We are proposing to retain the art deco frontage of the cinema. It was felt, especially after discussion with the local council, that it was a landmark feature of the town. We're going to treat it with respect.

"The scheme would bring a long standing vacant site back into an active use and avoid blight of dereliction, deliver significant investment in the town, and give the opportunity for three new retailers to be established in Wellington Town Centre to enhance vitality and viability. This will create new employment opportunities and revitalise the site."

Fiona Hunter said the Clifton campaigners had received an invitation to the consultation event by the developers.

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"Firstly, we are not entirely surprised due to us not being in a position to negotiate with them for some time," she said.

"Secondly, there is disappointment that the Clifton is not going ahead for us. However, we are near completion on a lease for the HSBC building in the Square, in Wellington. We would still pursue the Clifton if it were to become available, but at least there will be a provision for the residents of a cinema and arts facility very soon.

"There is a positive outcome out of the negative and thank heaven we moved forward with the agreement of the members."

A total of 52 homes will be created on the site. These will be accessed by two new staircases and a lift located on the ground floor.

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The developers also place to create a total of 71 car parking spaces, to be provided within the site boundary. This include for 34 dedicated spaces for residents.

Bins and secure covered cycle parking provisional are also included adjacent to the residential and retail entrances.

Access to the site will see a number of junction improvements, and the addition of a service lay-by on the front of the building.

Developers said they had designed the additional buildings on the site to blend with the Clifton.

The report said: "The elevation design seeks to retain the ‘Art Deco’ front projection portion element of the former 1930s Clifton Cinema building.

"This element was extensively surveyed in 2017 to ensure its accuracy and as such allowed us to develop a sympathetic mixed use proposal that sits alongside this historic retained facade.

"A combination of locally sourced brickwork, white render and small elements of vertical timber will break up the massing of the remainder of the Bridge Road elevations breaking up the elevation into small blocks.

"Shopfront glazing will be included at ground floor to allow strong visibility into the newly created retail spaces that front onto Bridge Road."

The public consultation will take place within the former Dunelm shop attached to the Clifton tomorrow between 10am and 4pm and on Saturday between 10am and 2pm.

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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