New Victoria / Odeon Edinburgh – Demolition Threat

posted by Ross Melnick on February 16, 2005 at 5:33 am

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND — Plans have just been lodged with Edinburgh City Council for a scheme that involves the demolition of the B-listed New Victoria / Odeon cinema. The plans can be viewed online here in detail: http://citydev-portal.edinburgh.gov.uk/WAM/showCaseFile.do?appType=DC&appNumber=05/00327/LBC.

In summary though, only the facade is to be retained, and that is to be extended by an extra glass floor above current roof level. The auditorium is to be totally swept away.

For a history of the New Victoria, and for photos showing what could very well be lost, see these links:

http://www.chem.gla.ac.uk/~gbarr/cinemas/edinburgh/newvictoria/index.html
http://members.tripod.com/odeon_edinburgh/frameset.htm.

The building was listed by Historic Scotland in 1974; as a result the internal subdivisions to form 5 screens within the original auditorium were done reasonably sensitively – and, most importantly, reversibly. Pretty much all of the original decoration is intact, if currently hidden behind modern additions.

The official description of the building in its listing entry calls it “An outstanding example of
the work of the most famous British cinema specialists.” – it was one of only two cinemas designed by WE Trent north of the border.

Listing details from Historic Scotland: http://hsewsf.sedsh.gov.uk/hslive/portal.hsstart?P_HBNUM=30028.

What you can do:

The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 states, in part: “… a planning authority […] shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses."
where ”… ‘preserving’, in relation to a building, means preserving it either in its existing state or subject only to such alterations or extensions as can be carried out without serious detriment to its character, and “development” includes redevelopment."

If you feel the proposals outlined above do not meet these legal requirements then you can comment on the proposals (before the 11th of March) online here: http://citydev-portal.edinburgh.gov.uk/WAM/createComment.do?action=CreateApplicationComment&appNumber=05%2F00327%2FLBC.

Note that you must give your full name and address for the comment to be officially registered. You can also write to the planning department at (quoting planning application reference 05/00327/LBC):

City Development Department
Planning and Strategy
1 Cockburn Street
Edinburgh
EH1 1BJ

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