Council looks to build new venue around classic cinema

Cheshire West and Chester Council has unveiled plans for the transformation of a Grade II listed Art Deco cinema into a £40m theatre and library complex.

The proposals, drawn up by  Bennetts Associates, would see the studio theatre as well as cafes and bars housed within the refurbished interior of the Odeon, while a new central library would be  located alongside.

The whole complex would include an 800-seat auditorium as well as smaller theatre and cinema spaces.

Bennetts Associates director Simon Erridge said the scheme was a sensitive solution to an “immensely challenging” project.

“The innovative approach of bringing theatres, cinemas and a library together under one roof will create a major cultural focus for Chester as well as bringing a threatened historic building back into use,” he said.

Cheshire West and Chester is due to make an application for Arts Council funding this autumn and, with a planning application expected to be submitted next summer.

The new facilities could open in spring 2016.