Colchester's former Odeon "under offer"

Gazette: Bid: Ewan Dodds, of Whybrow, confirms a bid has been received for the former Odeon Bid: Ewan Dodds, of Whybrow, confirms a bid has been received for the former Odeon

A POTENTIAL buyer has finally come forward for Colchester’s old Odeon.

An offer was put in for the former cinema, on Crouch Street, this week after standing empty for ten years.

Ewan Dodds, managing director of Whybrow, which is marketing the building, said: “This is something we have been working on for a while."

 

See Thursday's Gazette for the full story.

Comments (27)

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5:58pm Wed 21 Nov 12

co4 says...

God only knows what the new owner will be allowed to do with that place.
God only knows what the new owner will be allowed to do with that place. co4

5:59pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Boris says...

If it involves change of use, then it will require planning permission.
If it involves change of use, then it will require planning permission. Boris

6:45pm Wed 21 Nov 12

SOMETHING2SAY says...

.....and ANYTHING is better than watching it decay
.....and ANYTHING is better than watching it decay SOMETHING2SAY

8:28pm Wed 21 Nov 12

hughie-s says...

It's going to be a Tesco, there's not one within 200 yards.
It's going to be a Tesco, there's not one within 200 yards. hughie-s

10:59pm Wed 21 Nov 12

mirokou says...

hughie-s wrote:
It's going to be a Tesco, there's not one within 200 yards.
Well said.

Colchester Britains oldest record town and most prolific Tesco within 1 3 square miles. Actually there's a thought Colchester Castle, turn it into Tesco and increase the visitors ..genius.
[quote][p][bold]hughie-s[/bold] wrote: It's going to be a Tesco, there's not one within 200 yards.[/p][/quote]Well said. Colchester Britains oldest record town and most prolific Tesco within 1 3 square miles. Actually there's a thought Colchester Castle, turn it into Tesco and increase the visitors ..genius. mirokou

11:16pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Boris says...

Someone told me it was going to be a six-storey block of flats. We shall see.
Blame the greedy owner for setting such a high price that any project, to be viable, has to be for something gross and probably far uglier than the sad old cinema.
Someone told me it was going to be a six-storey block of flats. We shall see. Blame the greedy owner for setting such a high price that any project, to be viable, has to be for something gross and probably far uglier than the sad old cinema. Boris

12:58am Thu 22 Nov 12

Simon Taylor says...

Would assume that any offer would be subject to planning...
Would assume that any offer would be subject to planning... Simon Taylor

10:18am Thu 22 Nov 12

Sdapeze says...

I will watch with interest. My hope is that the eyesore is demolished and a nice row of shops with dwellings above will be the outcome. It has no heritage value as far as I can see. It is outside the heritage core so there should be some freedom in planning. But then you are dealing with the mentality of the sort of people who ensured that Jumbo remains a decaying eyesore.
I will watch with interest. My hope is that the eyesore is demolished and a nice row of shops with dwellings above will be the outcome. It has no heritage value as far as I can see. It is outside the heritage core so there should be some freedom in planning. But then you are dealing with the mentality of the sort of people who ensured that Jumbo remains a decaying eyesore. Sdapeze

10:58am Thu 22 Nov 12

Smouldering Ewok says...

I hope the building gets turned into something that Colchester doesn't already have.
We have far too many phone shops, hairdressers, take away's, bars and nightclubs already.
Good luck with the planning permission.
I hope the building gets turned into something that Colchester doesn't already have. We have far too many phone shops, hairdressers, take away's, bars and nightclubs already. Good luck with the planning permission. Smouldering Ewok

11:30am Thu 22 Nov 12

Joker50 says...

We haven't got a brothel, or have we?
We haven't got a brothel, or have we? Joker50

2:46pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Bert_Stimpson says...

I heard a rumour someone wanted to paint it gold, spend £28 million pounds refurbishing the inside, employ some overpaid hippies to run it and then stuff it full of modern art installations that no one has any interest in.

Then again, I doubt anyone in the private sector would be stupid enough to embark on a project like that...
I heard a rumour someone wanted to paint it gold, spend £28 million pounds refurbishing the inside, employ some overpaid hippies to run it and then stuff it full of modern art installations that no one has any interest in. Then again, I doubt anyone in the private sector would be stupid enough to embark on a project like that... Bert_Stimpson

3:19pm Thu 22 Nov 12

wellnow says...

i reckon they will turn into a stable to keep the one horse in.
i reckon they will turn into a stable to keep the one horse in. wellnow

10:39pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Boris says...

Sdapeze wrote:
I will watch with interest. My hope is that the eyesore is demolished and a nice row of shops with dwellings above will be the outcome. It has no heritage value as far as I can see. It is outside the heritage core so there should be some freedom in planning. But then you are dealing with the mentality of the sort of people who ensured that Jumbo remains a decaying eyesore.
We need Dorian to explain to you, Sdapeze, about the heritage aspects of the good old Odeon, or Regal as it used to be called. He has done so in the last, but you evidently don't remember.
Not sure what you mean about Jumbo. If it is an eyesore (which it isn't, except at ground level) that is down to the owner, who has failed to maintain it properly as befits an exceptionally important listed building.
[quote][p][bold]Sdapeze[/bold] wrote: I will watch with interest. My hope is that the eyesore is demolished and a nice row of shops with dwellings above will be the outcome. It has no heritage value as far as I can see. It is outside the heritage core so there should be some freedom in planning. But then you are dealing with the mentality of the sort of people who ensured that Jumbo remains a decaying eyesore.[/p][/quote]We need Dorian to explain to you, Sdapeze, about the heritage aspects of the good old Odeon, or Regal as it used to be called. He has done so in the last, but you evidently don't remember. Not sure what you mean about Jumbo. If it is an eyesore (which it isn't, except at ground level) that is down to the owner, who has failed to maintain it properly as befits an exceptionally important listed building. Boris

11:16pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Patman99 says...

The new owner could always turn it into a concert hall ****-cinema. The one thing Colchester doesn't have which Ipswich does, is a decent-sized venue for attracting the big bands.

Wonder if the 'interested party' is a middleman purchasing the place on behalf of another company with a contract in place to immediately sell it to said company with the covenant stopping the use of the building as a cinema (or if not legally possible, the addition of a new covenant allowing the use of the building 'for the showing of moving pictures with sound') ?. After all, that's what happened when Focus sold their old store in Andrews Avenue. Sold with covenant preventing retail of small electrical and DIY items, bought by middleman, sold to Glyn Webb with covenant removed.
The new owner could always turn it into a concert hall ****-cinema. The one thing Colchester doesn't have which Ipswich does, is a decent-sized venue for attracting the big bands. Wonder if the 'interested party' is a middleman purchasing the place on behalf of another company with a contract in place to immediately sell it to said company with the covenant stopping the use of the building as a cinema (or if not legally possible, the addition of a new covenant allowing the use of the building 'for the showing of moving pictures with sound') ?. After all, that's what happened when Focus sold their old store in Andrews Avenue. Sold with covenant preventing retail of small electrical and DIY items, bought by middleman, sold to Glyn Webb with covenant removed. Patman99

9:02am Fri 23 Nov 12

wormshero says...

While personally I'd agree that it should be turned into a concert hall, it's a hugggge financial risk for anyone who takes it on. Firstly, not sure what big bands are playing Ipswich? I've certainly never seen any in my time here, and I'm fairly on the ball when it comes to knowing what's going on musically. The main problem we have is proximity to London; the university has (or had, I don't think they bother anymore) the same problem with putting on live bands - if you're booking a regular size tour and you're a band of a decent size then a) you're playing London already and b) if you want somewhere else in the East, Norwich is far better suited - Norwich crowds are more reluctant to take the journey to London, while Colchester music fans do so almost without thinking.

Fact is not playing Colchester isn't going to be a major issue for the majority of bands as most fans will travel the relatively short distance to London. Maybe if we can demonstrate there are people here who want such things and that there will always be a good size crowd then in future that'll change and more bands will come, but frankly at the moment I'm impressed by the amount who come here already! (And I hate to take a pessimistic view, especially as someone who occasionally books bands to play Colchester, but that's just the way I see it)
While personally I'd agree that it should be turned into a concert hall, it's a hugggge financial risk for anyone who takes it on. Firstly, not sure what big bands are playing Ipswich? I've certainly never seen any in my time here, and I'm fairly on the ball when it comes to knowing what's going on musically. The main problem we have is proximity to London; the university has (or had, I don't think they bother anymore) the same problem with putting on live bands - if you're booking a regular size tour and you're a band of a decent size then a) you're playing London already and b) if you want somewhere else in the East, Norwich is far better suited - Norwich crowds are more reluctant to take the journey to London, while Colchester music fans do so almost without thinking. Fact is not playing Colchester isn't going to be a major issue for the majority of bands as most fans will travel the relatively short distance to London. Maybe if we can demonstrate there are people here who want such things and that there will always be a good size crowd then in future that'll change and more bands will come, but frankly at the moment I'm impressed by the amount who come here already! (And I hate to take a pessimistic view, especially as someone who occasionally books bands to play Colchester, but that's just the way I see it) wormshero

11:07am Fri 23 Nov 12

romantic says...

The original plan was to turn this into a nightclub, which was turned down more than once. I´d love to see a good-sized music venue in Colchester, but I suspect it would run into exactly the same objections as the nightclub.

I´m sure Colchester would benefit from a new theatre there, or even a cinema alternative to the Odeon, but not sure if either would be viable.

I´d rather see it occupied and used than sitting slowly decaying away.
The original plan was to turn this into a nightclub, which was turned down more than once. I´d love to see a good-sized music venue in Colchester, but I suspect it would run into exactly the same objections as the nightclub. I´m sure Colchester would benefit from a new theatre there, or even a cinema alternative to the Odeon, but not sure if either would be viable. I´d rather see it occupied and used than sitting slowly decaying away. romantic

11:51am Fri 23 Nov 12

thecapedcrusader69 says...

I would turn it into a bus station just to get on peoples nerves
I would turn it into a bus station just to get on peoples nerves thecapedcrusader69

6:01pm Fri 23 Nov 12

6079 Smith W says...

Boris wrote:
Sdapeze wrote:
I will watch with interest. My hope is that the eyesore is demolished and a nice row of shops with dwellings above will be the outcome. It has no heritage value as far as I can see. It is outside the heritage core so there should be some freedom in planning. But then you are dealing with the mentality of the sort of people who ensured that Jumbo remains a decaying eyesore.
We need Dorian to explain to you, Sdapeze, about the heritage aspects of the good old Odeon, or Regal as it used to be called. He has done so in the last, but you evidently don't remember.
Not sure what you mean about Jumbo. If it is an eyesore (which it isn't, except at ground level) that is down to the owner, who has failed to maintain it properly as befits an exceptionally important listed building.
Yet another Sdapeze U-turn (he is rather like the government, though unlike the government nobody should get wound up by this). He might as well write his comments on water.
[quote][p][bold]Boris[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sdapeze[/bold] wrote: I will watch with interest. My hope is that the eyesore is demolished and a nice row of shops with dwellings above will be the outcome. It has no heritage value as far as I can see. It is outside the heritage core so there should be some freedom in planning. But then you are dealing with the mentality of the sort of people who ensured that Jumbo remains a decaying eyesore.[/p][/quote]We need Dorian to explain to you, Sdapeze, about the heritage aspects of the good old Odeon, or Regal as it used to be called. He has done so in the last, but you evidently don't remember. Not sure what you mean about Jumbo. If it is an eyesore (which it isn't, except at ground level) that is down to the owner, who has failed to maintain it properly as befits an exceptionally important listed building.[/p][/quote]Yet another Sdapeze U-turn (he is rather like the government, though unlike the government nobody should get wound up by this). He might as well write his comments on water. 6079 Smith W

6:29pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Sdapeze says...

Sorry Anna but I don't see any heritage value in the building. Dorian Kelly has made a very good case for its preservation, but I just don't see it happening. If it could be viable as a cinema, with its original awning signage, then I would fight for its protection. However, I cannot see anybody spending money on such a venture. I don't think another nightclub is viable either. Again, if it were to retain its frontage, I would be happy with that, as long as it was maintained properly. But why would anybody want to do that? So I take, what I think is, a pragmatic view and bend towards a total rebuild to a modern yet architectually appealing edifice. We shall see. They still have to get past the planning process and the dinosaurs.
Sorry Anna but I don't see any heritage value in the building. Dorian Kelly has made a very good case for its preservation, but I just don't see it happening. If it could be viable as a cinema, with its original awning signage, then I would fight for its protection. However, I cannot see anybody spending money on such a venture. I don't think another nightclub is viable either. Again, if it were to retain its frontage, I would be happy with that, as long as it was maintained properly. But why would anybody want to do that? So I take, what I think is, a pragmatic view and bend towards a total rebuild to a modern yet architectually appealing edifice. We shall see. They still have to get past the planning process and the dinosaurs. Sdapeze

12:39pm Sun 25 Nov 12

sandgronun64 says...

Sdapeze wrote:
Sorry Anna but I don't see any heritage value in the building. Dorian Kelly has made a very good case for its preservation, but I just don't see it happening. If it could be viable as a cinema, with its original awning signage, then I would fight for its protection. However, I cannot see anybody spending money on such a venture. I don't think another nightclub is viable either. Again, if it were to retain its frontage, I would be happy with that, as long as it was maintained properly. But why would anybody want to do that? So I take, what I think is, a pragmatic view and bend towards a total rebuild to a modern yet architectually appealing edifice. We shall see. They still have to get past the planning process and the dinosaurs.
Sapeze - What a strange and contradictory fellow you are. You claim to have history as your passion yet refuse to see how this evolves in a current context. There is much history, worthy of protection that doesn't hark from the rather over-romanticised pages of school textbooks and efforts of period dramas to create the verisimilitude of a world long-gone that we feel we could just 'step into'.

Just because this building cannot act as a backdrop for a lot of grown men, parading round in (slightly ridiculous) costumes, pretending to be (like) the 'hardened warriors of a bygone age' does not mean that it does not represent an aspect of the towns, continually evolving historical character.

Our town is what it is; not what people think it ought to be. This fact often escapes those that seek to gentrify/profiteer via their (often self-indulgent) investment on account of council officers that seemingly allow any private investment a clear path through the planning controls.

Why do you think then, that any planning proposal for this site will not get through; if not on the first submission, then on appeal? It seems to have been a repeating pattern in recent years within the borough.

Now, if there were a proposal for some kind of modern, interactive museum site - a museum of urban culture would be my suggestion - then whilst I am sure many would be more sympathetic to its cause, it would still be subject to the same planning restrictions in terms of the finished building. The use it seems is not considered, nor is the effect of diluting limited amounts of trade in the town centre - within or without the 'heritage core.' The shape of the building is not the real issue then, rather what it will bring to the town. This I fear is the oft missed issue within the current plans for the regeneration of Colchester.

If the final use were at least to be something to bring tourists into town, and more importantly, give them something to do when they are here, particularly when the weather is poor, then this would warrant significant investment and would help to boost business.

No doubt it will become another clone shop/restaurant/drin
king establishment though, and further dilute the already struggling trade to the multitude of these already in existence in the town!
[quote][p][bold]Sdapeze[/bold] wrote: Sorry Anna but I don't see any heritage value in the building. Dorian Kelly has made a very good case for its preservation, but I just don't see it happening. If it could be viable as a cinema, with its original awning signage, then I would fight for its protection. However, I cannot see anybody spending money on such a venture. I don't think another nightclub is viable either. Again, if it were to retain its frontage, I would be happy with that, as long as it was maintained properly. But why would anybody want to do that? So I take, what I think is, a pragmatic view and bend towards a total rebuild to a modern yet architectually appealing edifice. We shall see. They still have to get past the planning process and the dinosaurs.[/p][/quote]Sapeze - What a strange and contradictory fellow you are. You claim to have history as your passion yet refuse to see how this evolves in a current context. There is much history, worthy of protection that doesn't hark from the rather over-romanticised pages of school textbooks and efforts of period dramas to create the verisimilitude of a world long-gone that we feel we could just 'step into'. Just because this building cannot act as a backdrop for a lot of grown men, parading round in (slightly ridiculous) costumes, pretending to be (like) the 'hardened warriors of a bygone age' does not mean that it does not represent an aspect of the towns, continually evolving historical character. Our town is what it is; not what people think it ought to be. This fact often escapes those that seek to gentrify/profiteer via their (often self-indulgent) investment on account of council officers that seemingly allow any private investment a clear path through the planning controls. Why do you think then, that any planning proposal for this site will not get through; if not on the first submission, then on appeal? It seems to have been a repeating pattern in recent years within the borough. Now, if there were a proposal for some kind of modern, interactive museum site - a museum of urban culture would be my suggestion - then whilst I am sure many would be more sympathetic to its cause, it would still be subject to the same planning restrictions in terms of the finished building. The use it seems is not considered, nor is the effect of diluting limited amounts of trade in the town centre - within or without the 'heritage core.' The shape of the building is not the real issue then, rather what it will bring to the town. This I fear is the oft missed issue within the current plans for the regeneration of Colchester. If the final use were at least to be something to bring tourists into town, and more importantly, give them something to do when they are here, particularly when the weather is poor, then this would warrant significant investment and would help to boost business. No doubt it will become another clone shop/restaurant/drin king establishment though, and further dilute the already struggling trade to the multitude of these already in existence in the town! sandgronun64

3:55pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Sdapeze says...

Fair, if efusive, comment!
Fair, if efusive, comment! Sdapeze

4:58pm Sun 25 Nov 12

sandgronun64 says...

Did you mean effusive?

I wasn't aware that my comments had seemed so gushing or emotional but at least we 'almost' agree on something!
Did you mean effusive? I wasn't aware that my comments had seemed so gushing or emotional but at least we 'almost' agree on something! sandgronun64

6:51pm Sun 25 Nov 12

jut1972 says...

Of course, all of the above assumes the bid is accepted...

Wouldnt care what its turned into, anything is better than an empty decaying eyesore.
Of course, all of the above assumes the bid is accepted... Wouldnt care what its turned into, anything is better than an empty decaying eyesore. jut1972

10:13pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Sdapeze says...

I did mean effusive but couldn't be arsed to go back and correct myself. Condescending may have been a better word with hindsight. Whatever the word, the building is an eyesore and if it is to stay as a testament to the past then it should look good. Otherwise demolish it.
I did mean effusive but couldn't be arsed to go back and correct myself. Condescending may have been a better word with hindsight. Whatever the word, the building is an eyesore and if it is to stay as a testament to the past then it should look good. Otherwise demolish it. Sdapeze

10:48pm Sun 25 Nov 12

sandgronun64 says...

Sdapeze wrote:
I did mean effusive but couldn't be arsed to go back and correct myself. Condescending may have been a better word with hindsight. Whatever the word, the building is an eyesore and if it is to stay as a testament to the past then it should look good. Otherwise demolish it.
Hindsight?

As I said you do seem to display have a rather contradictory (and now add to that changeable) attitude.

In what way were my original comments condescending though?

Can you honestly point out a series of tourist grabbing attractions in Colchester (now that is) that will bring people to the town for more than an afternoon or evening?

People can eat or drink anywhere, and are hardly likely to go away for the weekend to get their hair done, buy something from a charity shop and ... oh yeah ... go and see some museums where the exhibits are actually reminiscent of thoughts on museum interpretation circa 1990.

Colchester needs to get real if it is serious in its bid to reinvent (yes reinvent) itself as a tourist destination.

If I 'condescended', it was to compare tourism in Colchester with the extremely fine examples I see elsewhere, in the UK, Europe and internationally on a regular basis.

Sorry if I offended your 'status' as a local historian. I tug my forelock and humbly ask your forgiveness.

How do you think we'll get people to visit though? Firstsite (ironically frequently called 'hindsight'), the stunning array of interactive museums, filled with modern innovation.

I took my children into hindsight recently and spent the whole time telling them they couldn't touch things. Great family fun. We stayed around for literally minutes in this high-brow emporium of artistic enlightenment.

You always claim to have the answer. Please illuminate me in my apparent ignorance.
[quote][p][bold]Sdapeze[/bold] wrote: I did mean effusive but couldn't be arsed to go back and correct myself. Condescending may have been a better word with hindsight. Whatever the word, the building is an eyesore and if it is to stay as a testament to the past then it should look good. Otherwise demolish it.[/p][/quote]Hindsight? As I said you do seem to display have a rather contradictory (and now add to that changeable) attitude. In what way were my original comments condescending though? Can you honestly point out a series of tourist grabbing attractions in Colchester (now that is) that will bring people to the town for more than an afternoon or evening? People can eat or drink anywhere, and are hardly likely to go away for the weekend to get their hair done, buy something from a charity shop and ... oh yeah ... go and see some museums where the exhibits are actually reminiscent of thoughts on museum interpretation circa 1990. Colchester needs to get real if it is serious in its bid to reinvent (yes reinvent) itself as a tourist destination. If I 'condescended', it was to compare tourism in Colchester with the extremely fine examples I see elsewhere, in the UK, Europe and internationally on a regular basis. Sorry if I offended your 'status' as a local historian. I tug my forelock and humbly ask your forgiveness. How do you think we'll get people to visit though? Firstsite (ironically frequently called 'hindsight'), the stunning array of interactive museums, filled with modern innovation. I took my children into hindsight recently and spent the whole time telling them they couldn't touch things. Great family fun. We stayed around for literally minutes in this high-brow emporium of artistic enlightenment. You always claim to have the answer. Please illuminate me in my apparent ignorance. sandgronun64

1:24pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Sdapeze says...

You have hit the nail on the head precisely. I do not disagree with you. I took somebody into Firstsite yesterday for his first time. An underwhelming experience. But we have a new man at the tiller now so I am hopeful for change for the good, with an art experience that is broad rather than simply surreal. But the subject is that of the future of the old Odeon. You discuss its use as a museum. I cannot see it. We have a borough council that is only interested in the castle as a heritage attraction, with public sector workers running it. They have demonstrated on numerous occasions their lack of interest in heritage projects that they are unable to control and derive an income from. The circus is a case in point. Gosbecks another. Just go into the visitor information centre and see what heritage is available for the visitor. Just look at their website. I am ashamed of the lack of official support that our heritage has. So I join other 'grown men, parading round in (slightly ridiculous) costumes, pretending to be (like) the hardened warriors of a bygone age, to be occasionally ridiculed by condescending do nothing for your community know-it-all idiots like you.
You have hit the nail on the head precisely. I do not disagree with you. I took somebody into Firstsite yesterday for his first time. An underwhelming experience. But we have a new man at the tiller now so I am hopeful for change for the good, with an art experience that is broad rather than simply surreal. But the subject is that of the future of the old Odeon. You discuss its use as a museum. I cannot see it. We have a borough council that is only interested in the castle as a heritage attraction, with public sector workers running it. They have demonstrated on numerous occasions their lack of interest in heritage projects that they are unable to control and derive an income from. The circus is a case in point. Gosbecks another. Just go into the visitor information centre and see what heritage is available for the visitor. Just look at their website. I am ashamed of the lack of official support that our heritage has. So I join other 'grown men, parading round in (slightly ridiculous) costumes, pretending to be (like) the hardened warriors of a bygone age, to be occasionally ridiculed by condescending do nothing for your community know-it-all idiots like you. Sdapeze

11:25am Wed 28 Nov 12

Reginald47 says...

How about waiting for a planning application then we'll all know.
How about waiting for a planning application then we'll all know. Reginald47

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