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Panter Hudspith wins go-ahead for new south London cinema

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Panter Hudspith Architects have won planning permission for a scheme to create a library and cinema in West Norwood, south London

Councillors at London Borough of Lambeth last week gave the thumbs up for the plans, which would see the reconfiguration of a theatre and library building designed by the council’s former chief architect which opened in 1969.

In combination with the demolition and replacement of an adjoining administration building, the scheme would see the creation of a four-screen cinema and café/bar run by operator Picturehouse, plus library facilities.

The scheme sits in a conservation area next to West Norwood Cemetery, which is a registered park and garden containing 69 listed structures.

A report to the council’s planning committee by officers said: ‘The extension has been designed sympathetically, respecting the design and materials of the original building which is considered to make a positive contribution towards the conservation area.’

Planners concluded that the ‘sensitive’ design would not lead to harm to the neighbouring cemetery.

The plans includes a new roof designed to resemble the original copper roof which was stolen by thieves in 2010.

After that crime closed the building to the public, it was squatted, a development blamed by the planners for the theft of original internal elements in the building, including distinctive bronze stair handrails.

A courtyard will also be re-landscaped to include stepped seating features, and will restore the ‘Oedipus and Jocasta’ sculpture designed by artist David McFall.

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