13 October 2016
Work to tear down a once-thriving cinema as part of an ambitious plan to redesign part of the city centre is due to start next month.
The former Odeon cinema, which opened 85 years ago, is to be pulled to the ground to kick-start an ambitious project to regenerate Pilgrim Street.
The building - empty since 2002 - is central to plans to transform the area between Northumberland Street and Market Street into a retail zone, boosting Newcastle’s appeal as a shopping destination.
A site notice displayed at the former cinema states demolition work is due to begin on November 1.
A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: “The council received a demolition notice on Monday, October 10th from Bilfinger GVA, on behalf of its client Motcomb Estates Ltd, in relation to the former Odeon cinema on Pilgrim Street and relevant notifications to neighbouring occupiers.
“We understand from Motcomb Estates that is the first stage of their plans to redevelop the area. East Pilgrim Street has been a priority for the council for a number of years as it is one of the most strategically important areas of the city centre.
“Bilfinger GVA have confirmed that they are liaising with tenants in neighbouring properties, including those in Norham and Watson House.
“The council are committed to working with the landlord and its agents to minimise disruption during this initial phase of work, and to ensure that suitable alternative interim arrangements can be put in place for tenants.”
The former cinema started life as The Paramount back in 1931 – a state-of-the-art picture palace which seated 2,602 viewers.
In 1939, the Paramount was bought out by the Odeon chain. Odeon left the site in 2002, and later opened up a multiplex in the Gate. The Gate’s cinema is now operated by Empire.
Town-by-town: Vanished North East cinemas from 50 years ago
The buildings which are going to be knocked down are not listed or in a conservation area.
Motcomb did not have to apply for permission to demolish the buildings, but it did have to give 28-days’ notice.