Details of an £8 million revamp of a historic cinema site have been revealed.

Plans for the demolition of the Grade II-listed Astoria in Brighton and the construction of a large restaurant, office, flats and community room complex have been submitted.

Work on the proposals could begin as early as next year if planning permission is granted, and the new building could be completed within 18 months.


The major changes to previous applications to regenerate the former cinema and bingo hall will see six flats built in the top floor of the six-storey building.

The new building would be three storeys high at the rear and six storeys in height at the front, including a basement with a café and restaurant on the ground floor by Gloucester Place.

There would also be community rooms on the ground floor next to Blenheim Place with offices above and to the rear.

The application states that marketing evidence and valuations advice confirm that it is no longer economic to retain, refurbish or convert the existing building.

The plans by Hove businessman Mike Holland and Brighton-based Lewis and Co include 46 new cycle spaces but no car parking.

The Astoria opened as a cinema in December 1933 and showed films for 44 years before being used as a bingo hall.

Since 1997 it has stood vacant and deteriorating, with Mr Holland buying the site for £2.2 million in November 2007.

Permission to bulldoze the building was granted more than two years ago by the council despite objection from conservation groups.

Mr Holland said: “We have added the accommodation in the roof and we have tweaked it to make a more workable floor space, we were advised it was unlettable the way it was.

“I think the council do see it as an important regeneration within the area and providing that link between London Road and the more prosperous Brighton.”

Phil Graves, of property consultants Graves Jenkins, said: “We have made some changes on the top floor from a commercial use to a residential use to reflect what the market is doing.

“It will be positive to see the end of this tired old building standing in the centre of Brighton; we could do with a new building and a bit of regeneration.

“London Road has and will continue to see a transformation in 2014, with good people steering that in the right direction.”

A decision by Brighton and Hove City Council is expected in March.