Has the cinema site saga turned into a long running farce?

Last Thursday the Times broke the news on its website that Altitude had sold the plot of land to another developer called Elysian.

They are the sixth company to take control of the site since the ABC cinema closed more than 20 years ago.

Each of the others had also made promises that turned out to be hollow.

Now Elysian has emerged from the woodwork to announce that if/when the Belvedere project goes ahead it will cut the number of shops in favour of larger apartments for ‘older people.’  That’s code for apartments that younger people can’t afford. 

Nothing against ‘older people’ – this writer is one – but the development will hardly be in keeping with the vibrant trendy image the town is attempting to portray. 

Just like Altitude, Elysian promises to consult with local residents to find what they want.  How about delivering the scheme that emerged after all the other consultations?

So, another developer and more promises. Is it any wonder residents will be hanging their heads in disbelief having been misled, and that’s a polite word, so often? 

More than once in recent months this newspaper put it to Altitude that it was planning to sell the cinema site. On each occasion Altitude scoffed at the very idea.

Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the Book of Cynics that’s probably on the shelf of the Council Leader David Jukes. 

When Altitude started talking up their plans the wily old hand declared: “I’ll believe it when I look out of the window of my office in the Town Hall and see them start digging.”

Don’t hold your breath sir… 

Richard Moore

Editorial Director

 PS: Maybe, like Brexit, we all have to accept the idea of a compromise or risk waiting another 20 year for the digging to start.


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