Bermondsey Square cinema: planners force climbdown on change of use

A planning application to convert the former Kino cinema at Bermondsey Square into alternative commercial use has been withdrawn after Southwark Council advised it was unlikely to be approved.

Bermondsey Square cinema: planners force climbdown on change of use
Kino Bermondsey pictured during lockdown in 2020

It's almost exactly a year since the 48-seater Kino cinema at Bermondsey Square closed its doors.

Last autumn the owners of the Bermondsey Square development applied to Southwark Council to allow the empty unit to be used as a shop, restaurant or gym.

When the Bermondsey Square development was approved in 2005, a condition was imposed limiting the use of the former Kino unit to "cinema and arts club / exhibition space".

The cinema opened in 2009 and for eight years was known as Shortwave until Kino took on the space in 2017.

This week the planning application to allow a non-cinema use was withdrawn, with Southwark Council's formal notice recording that this had been done "following the advice of the case officer the application was unlikely to be approved on the basis of insufficient justification for the loss of the cinema use".

Southwark planners had received 38 objections and one letter of support for the change of use.

A farewell message in the cinema's window after closure

The three Labour councillors for London Bridge & West Bermondsey ward - Cllr Sunil Chopra, Cllr Sam Dalton and Cllr Emily Hickson - gave this joint statement to SE1:

Together with local residents and groups we've been campaigning strongly for the former Kino Bermondsey cinema to be kept as a site of cultural and community value - so the withdrawal of this application to change its use is very welcome.

The provision of a cultural space was one of the original planning conditions for the development of Bermondsey Square, and there is no justification for moving away from this vision.

While we are delighted our campaign alongside residents has paid off, it is vital we continue our work with local people to bring the best possible community use to this building, and restore the value that the former Kino cinema brought.
An extract from the original sales brochure for the Bermondsey Square development
Tags: Cinemas, Arts & culture, Planning & Development, Bermondsey, Politics & local government, Southwark

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