Plans to demolish the Brighton Astoria revealed

First published in News by

A businessman has unveiled plans to demolish a historic cinema to make way for a new media development.

Mike Holland is arguing for the demolition of the Grade II* listed Astoria in Gloucester Place, Brighton.

Agent Conran and Partners has submitted a planning application to Brighton and Hove City Council on his behalf detailing how the cinema would be replaced by a sixstorey business centre run by H3o Media Ltd. While critics have questioned if it is right to destroy this historical venue, Mr Holland, who bought it for £2.2 million in 2007, said: “It has had its day.”

A heritage report commissioned by H3o Media said the 1930s-built Astoria is not be as historically significant as people think. It suggests the Government’s decision to give the building protective listed status in 2000 was “questionable” because it wasn’t the only one of its kind on the south coast.

It also highlights the fact that when the cinema was converted into the Coral Social Club in 1977 many of the original features including the floor were removed and a false ceiling was installed.

Surveyor Montagu Evans, which carried out the assessment, added: “The most severe impact on the original decorative scheme has come about in the past 14 years when the building has been vacant and deteriorating with the ingress of water from a leaking roof causing significant deterioration of the wafer-thin plaster work.”

Mr Holland, who owns property around the city, said: “I am a great historian, a great lover of period architecture but the Astoria has had its day. The building is beyond repair. It was thrown up in five months and wasn’t a prime example of its day.”

He said the new media hub would have a “creative café culture”.

Mr Holland said: “We are looking to get on with it as soon as possible. I think it will be a kick start for London Road. It needs someone to get istarted and there is nothing like this in Brighton at the moment.”

Ward councillor Lizzie Deane said: “The Astoria is a unique piece of cultural heritage, much loved by local people.

“Any plans to knock it down would be very unpopular and its history would be irrevocably lost.

Its future ultimately rests with the council’s planning committee.”

English Heritage is to discuss the proposals with the developers.

The council’s planning committee is due to decide on March 15.

What do you think should happen to the Astoria?

Comments (26)

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4:13pm Thu 23 Dec 10

boblat says...

It's a bloody eyesore! get rid fast....
It's a bloody eyesore! get rid fast.... boblat
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Thu 23 Dec 10

APBrighton says...

I agree with boblat, it's nothing to warrant saving. Why is everyone so stuck in the past, things change for goodness sake. It will create jobs, and be something far more useful than an empty rotting pile of bricks
I agree with boblat, it's nothing to warrant saving. Why is everyone so stuck in the past, things change for goodness sake. It will create jobs, and be something far more useful than an empty rotting pile of bricks APBrighton
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Thu 23 Dec 10

Thumper Hove says...

Its an eyesore at the moment but could be attractive IF the building remains listed AND Holland is forced to restore the building rather than pressure for a de-listing. Every developer would de-list EVERY listed building if they had their way as it enables them to maximise profits.
Holland should not get his own way - he know if was listed when he bought it and if he doesn't want to restore the listed building then he can always sell it on (though of course he'd be loathe to do that as it ain't profitable).
Its an eyesore at the moment but could be attractive IF the building remains listed AND Holland is forced to restore the building rather than pressure for a de-listing. Every developer would de-list EVERY listed building if they had their way as it enables them to maximise profits. Holland should not get his own way - he know if was listed when he bought it and if he doesn't want to restore the listed building then he can always sell it on (though of course he'd be loathe to do that as it ain't profitable). Thumper Hove
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Thu 23 Dec 10

boblat says...

After the case has been stretched out for many years, then maybe it will become a real eyesore like the one opposite Preston Park, and fall down all on it's own.
Please don't stand in the way of modern Progress....And the refining of our City.
After the case has been stretched out for many years, then maybe it will become a real eyesore like the one opposite Preston Park, and fall down all on it's own. Please don't stand in the way of modern Progress....And the refining of our City. boblat
  • Score: 0

4:43pm Thu 23 Dec 10

MantaRay1 says...

As much as I used to love the Astoria cinema Mike Holland is right, it's day is over. Fond memories of the cinema in it's heyday.
As much as I used to love the Astoria cinema Mike Holland is right, it's day is over. Fond memories of the cinema in it's heyday. MantaRay1
  • Score: 0

4:59pm Thu 23 Dec 10

boblat says...

Yeah! real fond memories..I saw Dr Chivago and The Exorcist there. Wow!
Yeah! real fond memories..I saw Dr Chivago and The Exorcist there. Wow! boblat
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Thu 23 Dec 10

remluf says...

Take a look at these pics I found which will help you make up your mind:

http://www.28dayslat
er.co.uk/forums/show
thread.php?t=38782

http://www.28dayslat
er.co.uk/forums/show
thread.php?t=39957

http://www.28dayslat
er.co.uk/forums/show
thread.php?t=39141
Take a look at these pics I found which will help you make up your mind: http://www.28dayslat er.co.uk/forums/show thread.php?t=38782 http://www.28dayslat er.co.uk/forums/show thread.php?t=39957 http://www.28dayslat er.co.uk/forums/show thread.php?t=39141 remluf
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Thu 23 Dec 10

monty sidewinder says...

funny how the company planning to build a 6 storey 'media centre' (whatever that is?) is the same company that have produced the condemning report. i wouldn't want to stand in the way of progress but this town is rapidly losing it's old charm and the new steel balcony fronted boxes are being thrown up all over. why not just move into an existing empty office space - or take on the 'face building' opposite preston park and build a box there. that site has room for parking too and would also not cause traffic congestion whilst the building was under construction.
funny how the company planning to build a 6 storey 'media centre' (whatever that is?) is the same company that have produced the condemning report. i wouldn't want to stand in the way of progress but this town is rapidly losing it's old charm and the new steel balcony fronted boxes are being thrown up all over. why not just move into an existing empty office space - or take on the 'face building' opposite preston park and build a box there. that site has room for parking too and would also not cause traffic congestion whilst the building was under construction. monty sidewinder
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Thu 23 Dec 10

peterpro says...

Mike Holland is the one that restored the Engineerium and Stanmer House. Therefore, I should think he has explored restoration already having owned the Astoria since 2007. As much as I love the Astoria it is an eyesore and has been for some years now, there comes a time when progress should not be hindered by the desire to preserve a few memories. Surely this is one of those times.
Mike Holland is the one that restored the Engineerium and Stanmer House. Therefore, I should think he has explored restoration already having owned the Astoria since 2007. As much as I love the Astoria it is an eyesore and has been for some years now, there comes a time when progress should not be hindered by the desire to preserve a few memories. Surely this is one of those times. peterpro
  • Score: 0

5:08pm Thu 23 Dec 10

MantaRay1 says...

boblat wrote:
Yeah! real fond memories..I saw Dr Chivago and The Exorcist there. Wow!
Oh nostalgia! The queue for the Exorcist went beyond the Gloucester pub while a well meaning religious group handed out leaflets advising against viewing the film.
[quote][p][bold]boblat[/bold] wrote: Yeah! real fond memories..I saw Dr Chivago and The Exorcist there. Wow![/p][/quote]Oh nostalgia! The queue for the Exorcist went beyond the Gloucester pub while a well meaning religious group handed out leaflets advising against viewing the film. MantaRay1
  • Score: 0

5:36pm Thu 23 Dec 10

Ballroom Blitz says...

Mike Holland bought the Astoria in the full knowledge of what he was getting into.
The goalposts should not be moved to accomodate him. A listed building is just that.
He'll have to sell at a loss or renovate as he supposedly originally planned.
Property speculation is just that - speculation.
Prices can go down as well as up.
Mike Holland bought the Astoria in the full knowledge of what he was getting into. The goalposts should not be moved to accomodate him. A listed building is just that. He'll have to sell at a loss or renovate as he supposedly originally planned. Property speculation is just that - speculation. Prices can go down as well as up. Ballroom Blitz
  • Score: 0

5:39pm Thu 23 Dec 10

Tring says...

It IS an eyesore at the moment, but surely Brighton needs another cinema or medium-sized live venue more than it needs a six-storey 'media centre'? Plenty of empty offices around already.

It's very easy to get a tame surveyor or buildings historian to trash the significance of a building - because the private sector pays a lot better than the public in this area, and a lot of gamekeepers turn into poachers as a result.

Grade II* listings aren't dished out for nothing, so it will be interesting to see if the planning committee do their duty, or if they aren't willing to upset a powerful individual (and, I believe, Conservative party donor).
It IS an eyesore at the moment, but surely Brighton needs another cinema or medium-sized live venue more than it needs a six-storey 'media centre'? Plenty of empty offices around already. It's very easy to get a tame surveyor or buildings historian to trash the significance of a building - because the private sector pays a lot better than the public in this area, and a lot of gamekeepers turn into poachers as a result. Grade II* listings aren't dished out for nothing, so it will be interesting to see if the planning committee do their duty, or if they aren't willing to upset a powerful individual (and, I believe, Conservative party donor). Tring
  • Score: 0

6:36pm Thu 23 Dec 10

hubby says...

Another greedy speculator.
Brighton has more than enough of them.
Leave it standing,do it up and then use it for business if you have to.
There are enough sterile charmless buildings in Brighton.
Another greedy speculator. Brighton has more than enough of them. Leave it standing,do it up and then use it for business if you have to. There are enough sterile charmless buildings in Brighton. hubby
  • Score: 0

6:54pm Thu 23 Dec 10

stan bailey says...

MantaRay1 wrote:
boblat wrote:
Yeah! real fond memories..I saw Dr Chivago and The Exorcist there. Wow!
Oh nostalgia! The queue for the Exorcist went beyond the Gloucester pub while a well meaning religious group handed out leaflets advising against viewing the film.
we must have all been in the queue together. Don't think I have been to the cinema since, horrible on the seafront, both West st and the Marina
[quote][p][bold]MantaRay1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]boblat[/bold] wrote: Yeah! real fond memories..I saw Dr Chivago and The Exorcist there. Wow![/p][/quote]Oh nostalgia! The queue for the Exorcist went beyond the Gloucester pub while a well meaning religious group handed out leaflets advising against viewing the film.[/p][/quote]we must have all been in the queue together. Don't think I have been to the cinema since, horrible on the seafront, both West st and the Marina stan bailey
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Thu 23 Dec 10

Arriseme says...

You can trace the Astoria calamity back to the city council’s Labour administration who, against advice, sold the place to the new age setup “Stomp”. The Labour group swooned over its community and multicultural ethics and bulldozed the sale through. Meanwhile, back in the real world it was plain that this outfit of amateurs didn’t have two ha’pennies to rub together and was never going to make anything of it. It had no financial, project or development expertise whatsoever and no history of doing anything at all that gave any prospect of revitalising such an important building and site. All it did was deepen the neglect and steepen the angle of decline. So we end up here.
You can trace the Astoria calamity back to the city council’s Labour administration who, against advice, sold the place to the new age setup “Stomp”. The Labour group swooned over its community and multicultural ethics and bulldozed the sale through. Meanwhile, back in the real world it was plain that this outfit of amateurs didn’t have two ha’pennies to rub together and was never going to make anything of it. It had no financial, project or development expertise whatsoever and no history of doing anything at all that gave any prospect of revitalising such an important building and site. All it did was deepen the neglect and steepen the angle of decline. So we end up here. Arriseme
  • Score: 0

8:35am Fri 24 Dec 10

jeremy radvan says...

Ballroom Blitz wrote:
Mike Holland bought the Astoria in the full knowledge of what he was getting into.
The goalposts should not be moved to accomodate him. A listed building is just that.
He'll have to sell at a loss or renovate as he supposedly originally planned.
Property speculation is just that - speculation.
Prices can go down as well as up.
Absolutely right. A building is listed because it is seen as having a cultural value and in order to protect it from speculators like Holland.
[quote][p][bold]Ballroom Blitz[/bold] wrote: Mike Holland bought the Astoria in the full knowledge of what he was getting into. The goalposts should not be moved to accomodate him. A listed building is just that. He'll have to sell at a loss or renovate as he supposedly originally planned. Property speculation is just that - speculation. Prices can go down as well as up.[/p][/quote]Absolutely right. A building is listed because it is seen as having a cultural value and in order to protect it from speculators like Holland. jeremy radvan
  • Score: 0

10:31am Fri 24 Dec 10

iceman00 says...

It's a terrible building. Pull it down!
It's a terrible building. Pull it down! iceman00
  • Score: 0

11:38am Fri 24 Dec 10

whatevernext? says...

jeremy radvan wrote:
Ballroom Blitz wrote: Mike Holland bought the Astoria in the full knowledge of what he was getting into. The goalposts should not be moved to accomodate him. A listed building is just that. He'll have to sell at a loss or renovate as he supposedly originally planned. Property speculation is just that - speculation. Prices can go down as well as up.
Absolutely right. A building is listed because it is seen as having a cultural value and in order to protect it from speculators like Holland.
Am surprised messrs Blitz and Radvan didn't pool their resources and out-bid Mr Holland when the Grade 2 listed eyesore was first offered for sale....
[quote][p][bold]jeremy radvan[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ballroom Blitz[/bold] wrote: Mike Holland bought the Astoria in the full knowledge of what he was getting into. The goalposts should not be moved to accomodate him. A listed building is just that. He'll have to sell at a loss or renovate as he supposedly originally planned. Property speculation is just that - speculation. Prices can go down as well as up.[/p][/quote]Absolutely right. A building is listed because it is seen as having a cultural value and in order to protect it from speculators like Holland.[/p][/quote]Am surprised messrs Blitz and Radvan didn't pool their resources and out-bid Mr Holland when the Grade 2 listed eyesore was first offered for sale.... whatevernext?
  • Score: 0

1:03pm Fri 24 Dec 10

mtmoocher says...

Can the Argus inform us if any petition or protest group has been set up to fight against Mr Holland's application? Surely all those letters regarding fond memories of the Courts Scholl of Dancing will have fell on deaf ears, including the one from Mrs Theobald, Geoffrey?
.
s-code (meet-soon) ha! ha!
Can the Argus inform us if any petition or protest group has been set up to fight against Mr Holland's application? Surely all those letters regarding fond memories of the Courts Scholl of Dancing will have fell on deaf ears, including the one from Mrs Theobald, Geoffrey? . s-code (meet-soon) ha! ha! mtmoocher
  • Score: 0

1:35pm Fri 24 Dec 10

dawind says...

remluf wrote:
Take a look at these pics I found which will help you make up your mind:

http://www.28dayslat

er.co.uk/forums/show

thread.php?t=38782

http://www.28dayslat

er.co.uk/forums/show

thread.php?t=39957

http://www.28dayslat

er.co.uk/forums/show

thread.php?t=39141
Thanks remluf
As a nipper in the early 60`s i would visit this place on a Satuday morning (kids show).
Of course I feel saddened that it has ended its days in this sorry state but I agree with Mike Holland that it has reached the end of its use.
If something could be built that would help regenerate this area than I believe it should be given full support.
Time to move on.
[quote][p][bold]remluf[/bold] wrote: Take a look at these pics I found which will help you make up your mind: http://www.28dayslat er.co.uk/forums/show thread.php?t=38782 http://www.28dayslat er.co.uk/forums/show thread.php?t=39957 http://www.28dayslat er.co.uk/forums/show thread.php?t=39141[/p][/quote]Thanks remluf As a nipper in the early 60`s i would visit this place on a Satuday morning (kids show). Of course I feel saddened that it has ended its days in this sorry state but I agree with Mike Holland that it has reached the end of its use. If something could be built that would help regenerate this area than I believe it should be given full support. Time to move on. dawind
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Fri 24 Dec 10

bug eye says...

the plans will kick start this area and london road and if only the building was given a 30s overtone like the building it replaced, the van alen building managed it successfully and so has the replacement for the caffyns garage with lots of glass but nice curved corners. the building itself it ugly now, but please dont replace with a bland box reminiscent of the 1980s. there are too many already. same problem with the open market plans the flats are boxy once again, neither contemporary or nostalgic and will date terribly like the bland new england area, that looks like some sterile communist state.
the plans will kick start this area and london road and if only the building was given a 30s overtone like the building it replaced, the van alen building managed it successfully and so has the replacement for the caffyns garage with lots of glass but nice curved corners. the building itself it ugly now, but please dont replace with a bland box reminiscent of the 1980s. there are too many already. same problem with the open market plans the flats are boxy once again, neither contemporary or nostalgic and will date terribly like the bland new england area, that looks like some sterile communist state. bug eye
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Fri 24 Dec 10

boblat says...

All we need is a 'Pristine' Council and a talented Architect....A blend of ultra modern and old for a real pretty city?
All we need is a 'Pristine' Council and a talented Architect....A blend of ultra modern and old for a real pretty city? boblat
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Fri 24 Dec 10

boblat says...

All we need is a 'Pristine' Council and a talented Architect....A blend of ultra modern and old for a real pretty city?
All we need is a 'Pristine' Council and a talented Architect....A blend of ultra modern and old for a real pretty city? boblat
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Fri 24 Dec 10

Morpheus says...

The outside is a mess, I have no idea what the inside is like. But didn't Mike Holland say when he bought it that he would develop the site and retain the interior? If so he should be held to this. However, it not been used for years - nobody wants it, so we have face facts. It is no good Coun Deane saying that it is a much loved building - it obviously isn't.
The outside is a mess, I have no idea what the inside is like. But didn't Mike Holland say when he bought it that he would develop the site and retain the interior? If so he should be held to this. However, it not been used for years - nobody wants it, so we have face facts. It is no good Coun Deane saying that it is a much loved building - it obviously isn't. Morpheus
  • Score: 0

7:06pm Wed 29 Dec 10

On_the_Level says...

If Mike Hollands bulldozers aren't needed, perhaps they could be used to demolish the empty co-op in London Road instead?
If Mike Hollands bulldozers aren't needed, perhaps they could be used to demolish the empty co-op in London Road instead? On_the_Level
  • Score: 0

12:36pm Tue 4 Jan 11

ivanpope says...

First - let's have some transparency. Let's see a copy of this report as well as the terms of reference that commissioned it.
Let's also have some current pictures of the interior in the public domain. Better still, let the company organise some public tours of the place to see what a mess it is.
Also, how about an independent report? The people who produced this report, Montagu-Evans are in the pocket of the developer and say what he wants them to say: "The partnership has a reputation as a highly skilled and professional practice enhanced by our policy of providing our clients not only with advice on the possible and plans for the practical, but with high-level counsel on commercial viability and potential returns. Our ‘hands-on’ approach at partner level on every case ensures the best possible service to each client."
First - let's have some transparency. Let's see a copy of this report as well as the terms of reference that commissioned it. Let's also have some current pictures of the interior in the public domain. Better still, let the company organise some public tours of the place to see what a mess it is. Also, how about an independent report? The people who produced this report, Montagu-Evans are in the pocket of the developer and say what he wants them to say: "The partnership has a reputation as a highly skilled and professional practice enhanced by our policy of providing our clients not only with advice on the possible and plans for the practical, but with high-level counsel on commercial viability and potential returns. Our ‘hands-on’ approach at partner level on every case ensures the best possible service to each client." ivanpope
  • Score: 0

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