Green light for new entrance to Hucknall's Byron Cinema

Byron Cinema
Byron Cinema

Plans to change the entrance to the iconic Byon Cinema have been given the green light by the planning committee.

New plans to move the main entrance to Duke Street, which was previously used as a maintenance entrance will go ahead, despite critics claiming it could “destroy its heritage”.

At a meeting of Ashfield District Council's planning committee today, (October 23), councillors voted in favour of the motion, which also includes a replacement structural fin.

A report to councillors from the planning officers recommended that the plans be approved.

Their report reads: “The proposal helps to improve the quality and appearance of the existing building and brings it back into active use.

READ MORE: Work starts on Byron Cinema amid worries that heritage could be destroyed
“It is envisaged that the new cinema will trigger future growth for the night-time economy and attract more people into the town centre.

“The proposal does not have a significantly detrimental impact on Duke Street residents. There is parking nearby, within walking distance, at Ogle Street, Piggins Croft and Hucknall Station.”

Speaking at the meeting, Ria Cash, chairman of the Byron Community Project said: "We are not against the cinema development, nor are we against the development of the building. We do oppose the addition of the new entrance which we feel is not central to the success of the cinema.

"The new entrance would not ensure the survival of the building, but it would diminish its character and heritage.

"We would urge you not to allow this modern glass structure to reshape the building.

"If the two feasibility studies are accurate then the future of Byron is not the strongest, and with the loss of the internal heritage, and the major alterations already allowed - if it does fail what will we be left with?

"When the bingo was open, an average of 30 to 40 people attended a night. Parking and waiting taxis were a major issue for residents.

"If you can walk away after today's decision, we the residents will be left to live with the consequences."

Councillor Chris Baron said: "The cinema is one of the gateways into Hucknall, and of course one of Ashfield District Council's policies is to regenerate the town centre.

"Admittedly, the building is looking tired and I am sure even the Byron Project would welcome it to be re-opened.

"Imagine the people on Duke Street, where there will be double parking, and engines constantly going on.

"The existing entrances and exits should be left as they are because they are unique for a cinema. My own view is that this application should be refused on the grounds that it's not in keeping with the conservation area to move an existing door, there will be issues because of noise of people going up and down constantly.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny said: "We have been desperate to regenerate the building and have worked incredibly hard to bring a buzz to the town centre, and bring use back to an empty building.

"I think preserving the building we've got, and keeping it viable, is a much more attractive proposition."

The proposal was taken to a vote, and the councillors voted to go along with the recommendation to approve the changes to the entrance and new fin.

Speaking after the meeting, Hucknall councillor Lauren Mitchell said: "I've got nothing against the cinema, but we've got to get it right - and this entrance is not right."