By Chris Young LDRS
One of Bradford’s oldest cinema buildings could be brought back into use as an extension to a city centre wedding and events venue.
The Scala building, on the junction of Shipley Airedale Road and East Parade, was built in 1913 as a purpose built picture house.
Since it fell out of use as a cinema, the building has been used in conjunction with the neighbouring St Mary’s church, as well as providing community facilities.
Now a new planning application has been submitted that would see the Grade II listed building fully refurbished to become a conferencing, banqueting and wedding venue.
It says the work would “ensure a landmark of Bradford once again is occupied and used.”
It would be linked to the neighbouring St Mary’s Parish Church, which has been converted into wedding and events venue Regency Hall in recent years.
The application, by Usha Parmer, says the former cinema could also be used to hold events separately from Regency Hall.
Decaying walls will be re-built, and the building’s joinery will be refurbished.
The 700 seat cinema closed in 1922 – before “talkies” were introduced. It briefly became a cinema before being turned into a hall for the church.
Despite not having been used as a cinema for almost a decade, the building is believed to have many of its original features.
There had been plans over a decade ago to demolish the building to create a new entrance to the church.
The plans say: “ Over the recent years it has been uninhabited and as a result has, unfortunately, slowly decayed. There are many reasons for this proposal. It will not only serve as an overflow area for the neighbouring hall but also as an independent hall for smaller functions. The connection will be made via a set of new double doors to the St. Mary’s Hall.
Rooms on the first and second floor, including the building’s old projector room, will be converted into offices.
It is predicted that the redevelopment of the building would create seven full time jobs.
The application says: “The scheme will bring back into use a building which was previously earmarked for demolition.
“It will also not only bring employment to the area but through private investment, it will ensure a landmark of Bradford once again is occupied and used.
“The external design features proposed are to enhance the look of the currently unused and decaying building.”
The site has parking for 67 cars.
It says the biggest change to the listed building would be the removal of three steps from a tiered seating area on the first floor. The application says: “Without the option of removing these steps, this whole portion of the building will not be able to be used, unfortunately leaving it to decay further without any hope of it being used in the future. It is our opinion that ensuring the future usage of this area and retaining the majority of the steps, outweighs the cost of losing three steps.”
A listed building consent application for the development has also been submitted. Bradford Council is expected to make a decision in the New year.