Curzon exploring cinema bid for Ladywell pool site

Eames:  You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.
- Inception

Sometime BC contributor Max Calo has been lobbying for a Lewisham cinema for years and his efforts have drawn the attention of independent cinema chain Curzon, who approached him about the Ladywell Leisure Centre site he campaigned to turn in to a cinema. With the centre due to shut within weeks, as the new Lewisham pool opens, Curzon has now entered into discussion with the Council. Eastlondonlines reports:

[Calo's] petition was spotted by Curzon Cinemas, who run six arthouse cinemas in the capital and another venue in Cheshire. Calò said Curzon then contacted Hither Green Hall with interest in redeveloping the site as a cinema, and the two parties then held a private meeting with members of Lewisham Council to discuss options.

Cllr Mike Harris also comments:

“If there was a cinema here people would… come out of the cinema, go to a bar, a pub, a restaurant and spend more money here. At the moment that money is being spent in other boroughs. Lewisham is concentrating on housing, but all those people then have nowhere to go in the borough. If there was a cinema here, it then helps the local business, because those local businesses will profit from the extra traffic that is being brought in.”

If the plans do go ahead, Lewisham Council will need to think bigger than just the cinema. At the moment, there is relatively little to tempt the art-house cinema goer to linger. The site is too small and poorly located to build something like Bermondsey Square, but some supporting bars and restaurants would need to be accommodated within the design. Max points out that it’s between two major centres (Lewisham and Catford), but that means that it’s in neither and bus connections between the two are no substitute for a nearby tube station.  But BC has never been a home for people who dream small, so this idea gets our full backing – it just needs the Council to go into this with their eyes open about the scale of commitment required to make this work.

The developers who plan to rebuild Lewisham Shopping Centre are also considering a cinema, albeit one devoted to blockbusters rather than indie film.