West Norwood Library could bounce back with cinema
A dormant library – targeted last year by copper thieves – could bounce back in two years with a new cinema, it was revealed.
Early plans to revamp the West Norwood Library and adjoining Nettlefold Hall by also including a 400-seater cinema, bar and cafe were presented at a community meeting.
Picturehouse Cinemas, who run Brixton’s Ritzy and other cinemas across London, has unveiled its proposal for a four screen cinema in Norwood High Street.
Gabriel Swartland, from Picturehouse Cinemas, said they were excited to be in talks with the council over reopening the building in Spring 2014.
He said: "We extremely interested in building a Picturehouse there.
"We want to retain the family friendly community aspect of the premises, but at the same time our development will allow us to have a small bar as well."
It is thought the library space would be maintained while a screen may be housed in the hall and space for other screens would be constructed.
Mr Swartland added they had invested about £3million in similar projects such as the opening of the Hackney Picturehouse.
The library, which is in a state of disrepair, has been shut since June 2011 after a spate of copper thefts, creating frustration among residents and library users.
Councillor Clare Whelan welcomed the plan but raised concerns about its impact on community space and demand for parking spaces nearby.
She said: "My feeling is it is interesting but we have to make sure concerns are met.
"Everyone is wanting a date for reopening."
Colin Fenn, vice-chairman of Friends of West Norwood Cemetery, said they also hoped to develop a cemetery visitor centre as part of the revamp.
He said: "A cinema and visitor centre would be a great thing for the area to help regenerate the high street.
"It’s a really important building for the area."