Planners have given the green light to the owners of a former Corby cinema building to transform it into apartments and shops.
The building has become dilapidated and has been used as a furniture store since the 1990s.
But now new life will be breathed into the site after North Northamptonshire Council planners gave the nod to 19 flats and three shop units.
The planning application has been four years in the making but was finally rubber-stamped by planners earlier this week following the resolution of issues including drainage.
The auditorium will be demolished but the art deco front of the building will be retained as a nod to its history. Some of the original features will also be retained within the flats.
There will be 13 one-bed flats, six-two beds and some will have gardens. There will be parking spaces behind the building and a rubbish-strewn gap between the cinema and the parade of shops will be filled-in with new retail units.
Under the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy, developments of this size should be 30 per cent affordable housing - equating to six units.
But a Section 106 viability assessment was used by the developer to show they should make no contribution to affordable housing because their £126,000 profit would be diminished. Corby’s Housing Strategy and Enabling Officer Steve Butterworth had raised concerns over this back in 2020, questioning why developers should always be able to expect 17.5 per cent profit and asking why little could be done by local authorities to challenge this.
Planners have now agreed to accept a £15,000 contribution to off-site affordable housing and a £2,473 libraries contribution, as well as £892 for fire hydrants.
The cinema was designed by Lawrence M Gotch for Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres chain. Gotch was company architect for Stewarts and Lloyds and designed most of the major buildings as the steelworks grew in the 1930s.
It opened on March 16, 1936 and had seating for 1,052.
It was taken over by a local independent operator from 1969 and was re-named the Rutland Cinema but closed later that year and became Rutland Bingo Club. It has been a furniture store since 1996.
It is now owned by the Kettle family, who live locally.