Manchester Development Company Kempton LTD have announced plans for Hotel chain Travelodge to purchase the derelict former ABC Cinema and Gala Bingo Hall, located in the heart of Lancaster’s city centre.
Permission to demolish the existing Cinema and Bingo hall was granted earlier this year by Lancaster City Council. However, a replacement building must be agreed upon before development can go ahead. Further conservational consent will also be required in order to begin development. The proposed site development will include a 115-bedroom hotel situated between the second and fifth floors, with the ground and first floors being used for retail.
A Kempton Ltd Spokesperson commented both on the level of interest from hoteliers in the marketplace and on the company’s pride in improving the City Centre, stating;”We are looking forward to helping to improve the overall amenity of Lancaster by taking a run down old building and turning it into something that’s useful. From what we understand from the marketplace, hoteliers would fight to have such a location.”
Concerns have been raised about the increased congestion that may result from the increased volume of traffic. A similar criticism was levelled at the ‘canal corridor’ development project recently approved by the City Council. Conservationists have also opposed the demolition, claiming that the area is protected by government planning policy, and shouldn’t be demolished.
The Regal Cinema originally opened in 1936 with 1,592 seats. Since 1971 it served a dual role as both a Cinema and a Bingo club before finally closing in February 2007.
For students, the construction of a Travelodge in a central Lancaster location may well be something to celebrate, offering visiting friends and relatives a budget alternative to the more expensive hotels within Lancaster.