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Gaumont State decision

PUBLISHED: 20:05 22 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 24 August 2010

THE future of an historic theatre venue was being decided upon by the council last week Brent s planning committee was asked to grant permission for the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn High Road to be converted into a church. The proposed application wo

THE future of an historic theatre venue was being decided upon by the council last week

Brent's planning committee was asked to grant permission for the Gaumont State Cinema in Kilburn High Road to be converted into a church.

The proposed application would see demolition and replacement of the WC block and mezzanine meeting rooms, the installation of a metal mesh screen at the rear, a new side entrance and vehicular access, and re-landscaping of the site to include extra spaces for bicycle and car parking.

Ed Fordham, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, has asked the council to approve the plans for the Grade II* listed building while giving the community increased access to its facilities.

He said: "The planning application for the Gaumont State in Kilburn is one of the most important applications for the local area in years.

"It has the ability to restore Kilburn's most amazing architectural treasure back to public use, to bring people to the local shopping area as well as revitalise the High Road in the face of the recession."

Although currently vacant, the State was used as a Mecca Bingo hall until it closed in 2007, after which it was bought by the Brixton-based evangelical church Ruach Inspirational Church of God which wants to turn the building into a place of worship.

Residents have raised concerns over the potential increase in traffic congestion and whether the owners will commit to letting the community use its facilities, which include heritage archives and the largest functioning Wurlitzer organ in Britain.

Cllr Mary Arnold, Kilburn Ward, said: "This is a last chance for the restoration of the Gaumont State which is not only a landmark building for Kilburn, vital to the high road's revival but also one of Brent's few heritage sites with a wealth of music and film history.

"Its responsible occupation with some guaranteed public access will bring it back to life and restore its cultural significance in the heart of Kilburn."

Glenda Jackson, MP for Hampstead and Highgate, added: "I am pleased that the way is now cleared for Ruach Ministries to bring the Gaumont State back into use.

"The Gaumont is a key piece of Kilburn's physical heritage and I look forward to its re-opening as a facility for the whole community to use and enjoy.


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