CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Owner insists cinema really IS coming to Kentish Town

Street artists had daubed slogans on the building claiming the cinema would never be built

15 August, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

The building – with graffiti – where the new cinema will open in Kentish Town

IN 12 months’ time, film fans will be settling down into deep seats to feast their eyes on a new screen in the heart of Kentish Town – nearly eight years after plans were first mooted.

A gala opening next summer is being planned by the new owners of the former North West London Polytechnic on the corner of Prince of Wales Road and Kentish Town Road.

The site has been riddled with problems since previous tenant Pizza Express closed its doors six years ago.

Developers Uplift won permission to build 12 homes and a cinema back in 2014 but after work stripping out the interior got underway, the firm went bust.

Kentish Town-based design and architecture group Vabel has taken on the project, and director Jeremy Spencer told the New Journal the development will be completed by next summer.

He said: “We are preparing the site and we are 100 per cent sure a new cinema will be there.”

The news will be met with a mixture of relief and disbelief by many who have watched the saga unfold.

As work stalled, street artists daubed slogans on the building claiming the cinema would never be built.

Mr Spencer said: “It might not look like a lot is currently going on but there is a lot of activity inside. The builders are back in and we are investing a lot of time and money to make sure it can take a cinema that works.”

He said the building needed structural work to create a screening room that can hold the weight of the homes above and the designs needed to be changed to improve acoustics and sound-proofing.

Vabel has submitted plans to make minor alterations to upper floors that contain homes, tweaking the interior layouts to improve them, Mr Spencer said.

The New Journal can reveal the respected Arthouse group, who run a screen in Crouch End, are no longer in the running to manage the screen.

Mr Spencer would not reveal the new cinema operator, but he added: “We have spoken to companies who say it is just too small for them as it has just a single screen.

“We now have spoken with a larger operator who want some where high- end in terms of design, with a boutique and luxury feel and a cafe/ bar attached.”

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