Plans to revive Highams Park cinema revealed

The building has sat unused since 2015, reports Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor

Artist's impression of the plans (Credit: Mammoth Capital)
Artist’s impression of the plans (Credit: Mammoth Capital)

New plans to redevelop the Regal Cinema building in Highams Park were revealed to the public earlier this week.

Locals formed a queue at Hale End library on Monday evening to see the latest proposals for the historic building in Hale End Road, which has sat unused since 2015.

Developer Mammoth Capital now wishes to build 33 one and two-bed “high quality” flats on the site, with a cinema, foyer and café on the ground floor.

Six storeys would rise behind the Art Deco facade, which Mammoth say will “restore, reinforce and respect” the building’s history.

Artist’s impression of the plans (Credit: Mammoth Capital)

The developer’s presentation adds: “The proposed elevations have been designed to appear as if they step up from the subservient surrounding low-rise buildings.

“A sympathetic extension, that wraps around the existing facade, further reinforces The Regal as a local landmark.”

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Residents looking at the designs said they are keen to see a local cinema brought back to life, although a representative of the developer said no operator has yet committed to running it.

Local resident Gemma said: “We’re really positive about the whole thing – we would rather see something rather than nothing. I hope they build it.”

Artist’s impression of the plans (Credit: Mammoth Capital)

According to a summary of the building’s history, it opened in 1911 as Highams Park Electric Theatre and was renamed The Regal Cinema in 1935. Its Art Deco-style facade was added when it was partly rebuilt in 1935.

It continued to operate as a theatre until 1971, later becoming a bingo hall, snooker hall, bar and nightclub before being “repossessed” and “left vacant” in 2015.

Planning permission to redevelop The Regal with 30 flats above was first granted in 2018, on the condition that the cinema must be in use before the final eight flats could be sold.

Two years later a committee agreed Mammoth could reduce this condition to five flats.

For more information about the proposals click here, the deadline for comments is 6pm, 20th December.

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