In a groundbreaking decision, the former art deco cinema on Church Road in Bristol has successfully retained its Asset of Community Value (ACV) status, marking a significant triumph for the Save Redfield Cinema initiative. The group, committed to safeguarding the historic building from redevelopment, has been actively campaigning since 2021.
A spokesperson for Save Redfield Cinema expressed satisfaction with the news, stating that the decision has injected “enthusiasm and momentum” into their ongoing efforts. The group aims to restore the cinema, which ceased operations in 1961 but remains largely intact, by transforming it into a versatile space, incorporating a food hall and high-quality housing for the local community.
Despite Save Redfield Cinema’s commendable intentions, the landowner has persistently opposed the ACV designation, appealing twice against its granting. In response to the recent decision, a spokesperson remarked, “The landowner is a small developer with a history of investing in the city, aiming to create spaces for people to live during a housing crisis.” A comprehensive statement from the landowner is expected to be released shortly.
The proposed redevelopment plans put forth by the landowner envision transforming the cinema into 44 en-suite bedroom units and a commercial gym. However, over 1000 individuals have voiced their objections, expressing a preference for the restoration proposed by Save Redfield Cinema.
“We firmly believe in the strength of our case,” stated a spokesperson for Save Redfield Cinema, underscoring the grassroots support the campaign has garnered. The decision to uphold the ACV status, according to them, reinforces that “the power isn’t always in the hands of the developers, and they don’t always get their way.”
Bristol Council is now poised to consider the landowner’s planning application in the early months of the coming year. The ACV status, highlighting the building’s community significance, ensures its inclusion in the council’s list of Assets of Community Value.
“We remain prepared and open to purchase the building,” asserted a spokesperson for Save Redfield Cinema, emphasizing the group’s dedication to preserving this cultural gem. The Save Redfield Cinema campaign has successfully demonstrated the resilience of community-driven efforts against development pressures.
A campaigner, at the forefront of the action with support from Bristol Law Clinic, expressed gratitude to the “thousands” who supported the cause. “We appreciate having our rights in the Localism Act upheld,” they added, thanking authorities for recognizing the substantial social value embedded in the building since its inception in 1912.
The decision to preserve the historic cinema as an Asset of Community Value is being celebrated as a triumph for community rights and a significant stride towards safeguarding Bristol’s cultural heritage. As the narrative unfolds, the Save Redfield Cinema group remains steadfast in its mission to revive this historical cinema for the benefit of the local community, a sentiment echoed by the multitude of supporters who have joined the cause.