VIDEO: Wakefield's 'eyesore' former ABC cinema to be redeveloped?

It was once part of a booming industry screening blockbuster films, holding variety productions and even playing host to a performance from The Beatles.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 29th November 2017, 1:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th November 2017, 3:23 pm
The former ABC cinema
The former ABC cinema

But the former ABC Cinema on Kirkgate today sits disused and empty.

Since its closure two decades ago, the building has crumbled into a state of disrepair and despite plans for a retail and residential revival, nothing has come to fruition.

Now, Wakefield Council says fresh talks are being held over the old cinema's future - and redevelopment of the site is still in the pipeline.

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The former ABC cinema

Coun Les Shaw, the authority's cabinet member for corporate services, said: “Like many people we are very disappointed with the state of the old ABC cinema building, which is under private ownership.

"Significant work is being done around the Kirkgate area and sadly at the moment this building does nothing to support the area or local businesses.

"Over the last few months we have been in dialogue with the current owners in an attempt to clear and then develop the site and these discussions are ongoing."

Planning bosses had granted developers permission to replace the cinema with 119 flats, eight shops and a rooftop garden in 2009. But work never started and the planning permission expired.

The former ABC cinema

In March 2014, an application to create six townhouses, eight apartments and two commercial units at the site were given the green light.

A timescale of three years - up to March this year - was given for the submission of a more detailed planning application. But the cinema, which has previously attracted anti-social behaviour, still sits derelict.

The art deco style venue opened its doors on December 9, 1935, as The Regal.

It became the ABC in the 1960s and was later given three separate screens, before being renamed the Cannon after another takeover.

In is heyday, as well as showing blockbuster movies, it played host to productions by the West Riding Amateur Operatic Society and live entertainment for children and adults alike.

On February 7, 1963, Helen Shapiro topped the bill, supported by then up-and-coming group The Beatles.

The cinema closed in 1997, shortly after the opening of the city's Cineworld.