Plans to restore Odeon as a cinema lodged with council

The Odeon Cinema is to be brought back to life. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Odeon Cinema is to be brought back to life. Picture: Greg Macvean

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AMBITIOUS plans to restore the former Odeon Cinema in Clerk Street have been lodged with the council.

The move comes after nightclub mogul Stefan King’s G1 group snapped up the A-listed building last year in a multi-million pound deal.

Detailed blueprints confirm it will be brought back to life as a film theatre, cafe and bar – in the style of the Grosvenor Cinema in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane.

Proposals include five cinema screens and revamped foyers, as well as the restoration of original features including the terrazzo flooring.

Campaigners and politicians welcomed the decision to revamp a site which has lain largely empty and neglected since 2003.

Tom Pate, of the Save the Odeon campaign, said: “The big auditorium upstairs is going to be pretty spectacular.

“It’s a great location for a cinema, and G1 have a really good track record of restoring historic buildings.

“I have no doubt the restoration is going to be impressive, and hopefully the plans will go through. It will be great to see the building back in use – it’s been a long time.”

G1 already operate a number of dining, entertainment and cinema attractions across Edinburgh and Scotland, including the west end’s Ghillie Dhu, The Corinthian Club in Glasgow, Perth Playhouse and the Grosvenor Cinema in the west end of Glasgow.

The company’s plans for the Odeon – which was previously owned by Duddingston Leisure – come after the failure of a short-lived entertainment complex run by Susan Boyle’s brother, Gerry.

He wanted to turn the site into a “high-class cabaret venue”, but the venture closed after just a few weeks amid a legal battle between Mr Boyle and contractors.

Since then there have been mounting concerns over the building’s condition.

Councillor Cameron Rose, who represents Southside/Newington, said he was “delighted” progress was finally being made.

He added: “It’s just a big gap in the Southside and we need life in it. I look forward to it being used at last.

“Just to have something that’s useful to visitors and local people will be most welcome when it’s been a blot on the landscape for so long.”

Marion Williams, director of heritage group the Cockburn Association, said she hoped developers exercised “as light a touch as possible” – retaining as many original features as they can.

She said the building needed “quite a bit of work” inside, but welcomed the decision to reopen it as a cinema.

The art deco landmark first opened its doors in 1930, when it was known as the New Victoria. It became the Odeon in 1964.

From the 1970s it had a double life as a popular music venue, playing host to a variety of big names – including Deep Purple, The Kinks, The Who, Thin Lizzy, and AC/DC.

alistair.grant@jpress.co.uk