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Dizzy

Bye bye Mr Smiths .... demolition planned for August

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And sadly I don't think anything can be done to save it unless someone comes in with a name your price offer.

I can see it being bulldozed and developed into river side penthouse suites.

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And sadly I don't think anything can be done to save it unless someone comes in with a name your price offer.

I can see it being bulldozed and developed into river side penthouse suites.

Nothing anyone can do about it but didn't some of the councils plans for the waterside area a few years back show apartments on that spot anyway.  I thought that's why WBC wanted to buy the building at auction so the land etc was theirs as part of the big plan.

 

I guess it's the land that's the valuable bit there so perhaps the current owners are just clearing it to make it a more attractive prospect to any other developers who might want to buy it if they don't build on it themselves.

 

It does seem a little odd for the owner to be knocking down the existing building which 'could' have an alternative use if they haven't yet put in for outline planning permission for anything else to be built on the land.  I suppose if their plans get refused they could always sell the empty land to WBC or just fence it all off and wait for a compulsory purchase order and payment :wink:

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Suitably built on stilts given the location is very prone to flooding.

Plenty of booze flooding out of the pumps on a Friday and Saturday night... not that I ever went there or drank that of course  :wink:

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Steve, the Council should have bought that building years ago and used it as a community resource. Instead money has been wasted on skittles, consultations on flogging off Walton Hall and roadsigns....

 

The Council bid a million. I think it went for a million and five thousand...  I'm not sure whether the aim was to save the building or have control of the site. In the present financial climate we could probably get the capital funding for a "community resource" but not afford to run it. (Having been at DAD at the weekend the awful truth is that Walton Hall is a great resource but if then was now and Greenalls were offering it to us free now we'd turn it down as we could never afford to maintain it.)

 

Part of the problem is rates on empty buildings (though there can be some relief allowed in special circumstances). Unlisted buildings that could be "recycled" are often demolished (or the roof taken off) to avoid paying rates - plus it's not easy to bring old buildings up to modern standards of insulation and low energy requirement.

 

One of the planning issues for any new use will be that the existing night club use would have been off-peak (evenings) whereas offices or housing would inevitably put traffic into the Bridge Foot rush hour. That could be mitigated by section 106 agreements improving Bridge Foot - e.g. ease the bend round Mr Smiths which would no longer be there - but I think we'll certainly consult on that!

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Steve, why would the council consult on such a minor matter as change of use of a privately owned site when they didn't want to consult (and even when forced to aren't going to do it properly) on something with as wide an impact as the closure of the only community recycling centre serving nearly half of the borough.

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I'm not sure whether that was a deliberate sleight of hand - we wouldn't "consult" on change of use (just put up notices on lamp posts). I was talking about consulting on road improvements. It won't be change of use anyway, as the building will be gone; it would be a planning application for a new use on a cleared site.

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One of the planning issues for any new use will be that the existing night club use would have been off-peak (evenings) whereas offices or housing would inevitably put traffic into the Bridge Foot rush hour. That could be mitigated by section 106 agreements improving Bridge Foot - e.g. ease the bend round Mr Smiths which would no longer be there - but I think we'll certainly consult on that!
 

 

 I was talking about consulting on road improvements. It won't be change of use anyway, as the building will be gone; it would be a planning application for a new use on a cleared site.

I'm not sure I entirely understand what you mean Steve and how could something like getting rid of the bend round Mr Smiths make traffic flow any better as it's often gridlock there and it's not the fault of the bend in the road....unless of course the Section 106 brings in a huge amount of money so that another new bridge and road (or maybe even two) can be built to bypass Bridge Foot all together.   Now that would be good as long as the S106 money was spent on what it was intended for which I'm sure it always is :wink:

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The Council bid a million. I think it went for a million and five thousand... 

The reports at the time of the sale (2011) said a guideline price of £500k for both the building and the car parks but it sold for £1 million (the council were out bid).

 

Not a bad price really for such a large building and car park area in a prime location and the building itself had undergone a £2 million refit in 2008 before being relaunched as Synergie.

 

I wish I'd have had a million to spare :)

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This is really beginning to annoy a lot of people.... The building is one of the few iconic buildings left in the town (the rest having been demolished - accidentally or otherwise or given away to be turned into flats.)

 

The town is having its heart ripped out by speculative Del-Boy types and the council is doing absolutely bugger all to stop it because when new houses are built they can stuff some more poll tax in the coffers while still cutting services and blaming the government.

 

I thought Mike Hannon was supposed to be the town centre champion???? the only response from him was "whatever happens to the site I would like to hope that it would include mixed leisure and residential to enhance the offering of our town centre".... what a complete joke......

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I'm not sure whether that was a deliberate sleight of hand 

 

Everybody else is very clear on the matter Steve.

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This is really beginning to annoy a lot of people.... The building is one of the few iconic buildings left in the town (the rest having been demolished - accidentally or otherwise or given away to be turned into flats.)

 

The town is having its heart ripped out by speculative Del-Boy types and the council is doing absolutely bugger all to stop it because when new houses are built they can stuff some more poll tax in the coffers while still cutting services and blaming the government.

 

I thought Mike Hannon was supposed to be the town centre champion???? the only response from him was "whatever happens to the site I would like to hope that it would include mixed leisure and residential to enhance the offering of our town centre".... what a complete joke......

Problem is that even if the council wanted to they can't actually do anything to stop the owner demolishing it Baz.   It's classed as 'General Permitted Development' (Towns & Country Planning Act Part 31) but the owner has had to apply re possible approval of the 'method' for demolitions etc.

 

If I was the owner I would have been in long talks already with the planning department etc to determine just what I would be allowed to build on the empty site I certainly wouldn't be knocking down my perfectly good building on the off chance.  Considering WBC already have their own plans and vision of how the Mersey Waterfront/Bridge Street Quarter etc etc should come together then I'd have thought it even more important to know where I might stand. 

 

 Maybe they have already had some chats though.....

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A lot of claptrap is being talked and written about this. Doesn't anybody remember the bad old days when the courts were full of Mr Smiths' patrons arrested for fighting inside or outside the place. It is the biggest single reason for Warrington acquiring the reputation it still cannot shake off - of being a gutter town full of drunken teenagers on a Saturday night.

Few people seem to remember it when it was a cinema - the best in town - where you were often greeted by the manager in the foyer wearing his evening suit and black tie and where there was a wonderful restaurant, with uniformed waitresses and where you could get a proper meal instead of the junk you are expected to consume if you want a meal before the film these days.

Architecturally, of course, there is nothing special about it, so there is no need to bemoan its loss. But it's a good deal better than our only cinema now.

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I remember it being a cinema and that where 'Jaws' scared the living daylights out of me.  I remember going to Mr Smiths too every week and we never saw any trouble and we used to walk all the way home safely too.
It used to close at a reasonable time back then though and so did all the other bars in the town centre.  I wouldn't go into town at night now if you paid me too and even our 20 year old son says it's not a very nice place to go  with all the drunks and the trouble.

I'm not saying that the building should stay and simply be re-opened as another night club Egbert but I do think its completely wrong that such large, substantial and structurally sound building should simply be demolished rather than being turned into something else.
If the owner/developer actually said what their plans for the site might be, whether that be resale of the empty land to another developer or their own plans to build on it,  then who knows maybe we are all moaning about nothing as it could be something better such as a cinema, some restaurants or whatever.  But the current building and large plot of land next to it could be turned into those anyway.

All we know is that the building is going to be demolished in August and that's it and if it does turn out to be something awful like houses or flats or if the council do happen to refuse any future planning permission then knocking the building down now will have been a complete and utter waste. 

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While the establishment from the main parties in London down to their cronies in the council try and force all of us to give up our cars the environmental impact of demolishing and replacing  building such as the old cinema/night club is huge yet gets ignored.

 

Demolishing such buildings also robs future generations of its history

 

Dizzy is right, no one is going to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds demolishing a building while keeping their figures crossed the council might let them build something else.

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I went to the cinema at Westbrook the other day and the place was virtally deserted. If we get a new town cinema (which the council are threatening) I can't see this one surviving.

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I went to the cinema at Westbrook the other day and the place was virtally deserted. If we get a new town cinema (which the council are threatening) I can't see this one surviving.

The prices they charge at the Westbrook one and the fact that it's not so easy to get to without a car I'm not surprised to hear it was empty. 

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It is very easy to get to.... just across the roundabout from where I live :)

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Selfish reply Baz :lol::P   I wish I'd have known that a few years ago as you could have given our lad and all his mates a lift home after they went one night and came out only to find no busses ran back to Warrington or home at that time of the night.  It was only about 10pm too but maybe that's been changed now.

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With so many films being available to people via thier mobiles, ipads, extra large 3d smart TV's and the like it surprises me that there is a need for cinemas these days.

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The new owners planned to reopen the club according to the Warrington Guardian but soon after acquiring it the building was put back on the market and a for sale sign still hangs on the building.

 

Wonder if it was sold?

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Isn't the for sale sign still the 'Allsops' one from when it went up for auction in March 2011 and the council got outbid?  I'm pretty sure it has their name on.

There were reports in the following August that Mr Smiths was relaunching and would re-open in the autumn but I think it kept being delayed.  Not sure if it ever did re-open though.

Here's the auction listing details for when it sold in 2011.

http://www.auction.co.uk/commercial/LotDetails.asp?A=703&MP=84&ID=703000047&S=C&O=A

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Isn't the for sale sign still the 'Allsops' one from when it went up for auction in March 2011 and the council got outbid?  I'm pretty sure it has their name on.

 

The estate agent that was selling it most recently is Savills

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Oh yes that does ring a bell now you've said it.  Was it auctioned or just a normal sale ?

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