We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. Read More Allow Cookies
David Puttnam

Lord Puttnam: Kensington Odeon plan will make area dullest in London

Lord Puttnam: Kensington Odeon plan will make area dullest in London

29 September, 2015

"Film producer Lord Puttnam has warned the demolition of the Kensington Odeon will make the area “the dullest point in London” as he issued an 11th-hour appeal to save the cinema.

David Puttnam & Odeon

The Labour peer, 74, was speaking alongside Bugsy Malone and Midnight Express director Sir Alan Parker at the British Film Institute in Waterloo.

Asked about the future of London’s threatened picture houses, Lord Puttnam said: “The Odeon in Kensington is more than in danger. On Monday [today] part of the building will be pulled down. I don’t like that. 

“As long as there’s breath in me I will shout and scream and try to preserve some semblance of the film industry I have been lucky to work in for 30 years.”

The Odeon closed on August 31 after developers Minerva secured planning permission to demolish most of the 1926 building and replace it with 42 apartments and townhouses above a seven-screen basement cinema complex. Work was set to begin today with scaffolding to be put up outside and internal works to remove asbestos.

Lord Puttnam told the Standard: “The Odeon is an important icon in cinema as it was built in the Twenties. It’s a classic art deco design and happens to be in a part of Kensington that could go either way. Make it an exciting hub in an area that could otherwise be the dullest point in London

“All I’m hoping is the Mayor’s office and the minister for planning [Brandon Lewis MP] will look at it holistically and really look at the impact on that part of Kensington.

“It’s not about the cinema that’s upsetting me, it’s an iconic site which is important to the world of cinema.

“The smaller cinema is just a gesture. There is nothing imaginative about it.”

Minerva plans to retain part of the art deco façade on Kensington High Street. It said it would deliver “a new Picturehouse Cinema with seven screens with a vibrant café, bar and restaurant, and refurbish the historic façade, mosaic threshold and lanterns on the forecourt. The scheme will retain the two London plane trees in front of the cinema and deliver 20 affordable homes.”

More than 26,000 people have signed a petition calling for a public inquiry into the proposal, which was handed in to Boris Johnson at City Hall this morning."

Article from The Evening Standard 

       Follow David on Twitter @DPuttnam