Vue Eltham

174 Eltham High Street,
London, SE9 1BJ

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Vue Eltham - Largest auditorium prior to fit-out

Built with six screens with a total seat capacity of 857, the Vue Eltham began construction on January 30th 2018 and opened on 25th April 2019, as part of a new entertainment complex also including Nando’s and Pizza Express, opening with a 3pm 2D screening of “Avengers: Endgame” situated in its first screen. This marks the first cinema located in Eltham since the closure of the ABC Eltham on 29th April 1972.

Refreshments include two self-service Tango Ice Blast machines, two Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, Lavazza coffee, Avalanche ice cream and a pick-and-mix. More refreshments are available at the venue’s Sky Bar. Ticket prices range from £6.99.

Contributed by Max Chittock

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

CF100
CF100 on April 29, 2019 at 4:00 pm

The cost of this development (excluding fit-outs by operators) ended up being £20.8m—increasing from the original figure of £14m.

This seems to be an astonishing figure, and should this raise eyebrows over its perceived commerical viablity, it is notable that the developer is the local authority (Royal Borough of Greenwich)—their aim being to provide a catalyst for regeneration.


Built on a very tight site formerly occupied by what was for many years a Co-op department store (latterly a pound shop), according to a Greenwich Council committee report, high levels of ground water, shortage of building labour in London, and cinema operator requirements resulted in the revised project cost, c.f. the original £14m.

The report also states that the cinema is on a 25 year lease.


I visited the site just before handover for the fit-out—primary partition walls (auditoria, restaurants) were constructed but not those for toilets etc.; lifts were installed (albeit not yet commissioned), etc. The main contractor for this phase was Willmott Dixon.

Hence, mostly what could be seen was acres of “Soundbloc” plasterboard, except for underneath the stadia, which was fire rated plasterboard.


The cinema, save for the ground floor entrance/foyer, is on an upper level, on a concrete slab varying between 500mm and 1m (!) in depth, supported by a steel frame, as required for isolation (restaurant units below) plus carrying high loads.

The stadia are isolated on neoprene pads, with pads in the auditorium demising walls also. The stadia were complete with plywood steps/risers.

Incidentally, with the building in a “stripped” state, one can really see just how thick the walls are. (Presumably double walls with mineral wool in the voids.)


Soundproofing of some auditoria was due to be tested later on the day of the visit; and apparently, rain testing of the roof deck resulted in failure by 1 or 2dB!

The site manager said that they would rather have worked on the fit-out, as not only were they liasing with Greenwich Council and tenants, but the fit-out contractors (Swindon Interiors for the Vue)—apparently a nightmare in terms of such details as drain positioning!

Vue, apparently, are a demanding client, with very high standards; albeit the site manager did state that it was the first cinema that they had worked on.


Otherwise, there seems to be little reason to visit what is almost certainly a run-of-the-mill miniplex of modest sized auditoria. (“VIP” seating is included in the middle rows of the auditoria, but not recliners.)

I did, however, have a brief look last weekend (the cinema opening last Thursday) at the ground floor main foyer, which seemed to be chaotic; there did not seem to be any performance information whatsoever, with no self-service machines visible. One might expect customers to book online, but the long queues at the concessions counter suggested otherwise.

The foyer’s floor was strewn with popcorn, and, I don’t recall any background music playing (JBL speakers.)

Otherwise, it is a perfectly attractive foyer (although being used to, above all, West End venues, basic) and includes a small seating area with green velour upholstered chairs (alas, with a view out of the window of the distinctly unglamourous High Street!)


Demolition, sub-structure and basement works: Erith Contractors (Source: Above-linked Greenwich Council report.)

From Willmott Dixon’s project page:

Work: “Shell and core of new cinema and restaurants” Architect: Chapman Taylor Structural Engineer: AECOM


Photos of exterior under construction, interior prior to fit-out, and of foyer post-opening to follow.


Corrections to the description:

  • The foyer includes 2x self-service Coca-Cola Freestyle and 2x self-service Tango Ice Blast machines.

  • It is the first cinema in the town centre since the ABC closed in 1972; however, the Coronet (Odeon) Well Hall was only ~1km away, also only 500m from Eltham Station.

CF100
CF100 on April 30, 2019 at 5:51 am

Corrections:

  • Auditorium 1 is entered at ground level, extending down into basement level at the screen end.
  • Chapman Taylor was the architect for the shell only.
  • I should add that my comments on the “chaos” in the ground floor foyer relate to this occasion, a couple of days after opening, only; presumably, operations will be “tuned up” ASAP.

Addendum:

There is an earlier planning application from 2014, but this is at best of academic interest (!) only; the above-linked 2015 application is substantially different, including a change of architect.

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