DETAILED plans for a new hotel on the site of Stratford’s Picturehouse Cinema have been submitted to the district council.
The application says that Picturehouse owners Cineworld, have agreed not to renew the lease on the building beyond its expiry in 2020 and are actually negotiating the possibility of leaving before then.
However, a spokesperson for Picturehouse has denied this saying: “The Picturehouse lease will expire in September 2020. We will consider all options and continue discussions with our landlord until that time. As yet, no decisions have been made on whether to renew or relinquish the lease.
“Picturehouse are confused by the statement in the landlord’s planning application that we are not renewing our lease as this is a decision we will make nearer the time. Until then it’s business as usual.”
The plan itself details a four-storey 81-bedroom hotel, believed to be a Travelodge, with a separate restaurant and offices. It says the development would be slightly more set back from the street than the existing building and a pick-up/drop off layby installed at the front.
It would be a brick building over the first three floors, with the top storey fully glazed, and according to the document, the whole building has been designed to discreetly fit into the street scene.
Explaining the landowner’s decision to demolish the Picturehouse, the application states that the cinema is no longer viable and has been subsidised by the landowner With the arrival of the Everyman Cinema at Bell Court, the landlord believes he can no longer justify this.
It states: “The cinema has, for its whole life, been operating with a hidden subsidy by the site owner who has accepted a rent far below any likely market value so that Stratford could have a cinema. Now there is another cinema in the town, that justification is eroded.”
It adds: “The viability of the Picturehouse was at best marginal before the Everyman Cinema opened. Stratford is not a particularly large town and its catchment area is reduced by the ring of other cinemas in surrounding towns, including Solihull, Leamington, Banbury, Evesham, Cheltenham and Redditch.
Windsor Place is not well located to compete with the Everyman. There is no longer a realistic prospect of a cinema continuing there.” The applicant explains that the central location is convenient for a hotel, close to railway and bus stations, shops, restaurants and car parks and would provide substantial benefits to local businesses.
Landlord Igor Kolodotschko said: “This design is exactly what the hotel operator wants, I think it will be good for Stratford, it’s cost-effective because most of the other hotels in the town centre are expensive.”
A decision on the application is expected to be made at the end of December.