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Council to investigate buying The State Cinema
2:51pm Thursday 21st June 2012 in News
OFFICERS at Thurrock Council have been told to look into buying the historic State Cinema.
Owners TSP Properties have put the Grade II listed building, in George Street, Grays, on the market with Savills UK, with the price on application.
Speaking at last night’s meeting of the full council, leader John Kent said the restoration of the “neglected” building could be key to the regeneration of Grays town centre.
He added: “We might actually be able to help bring this building back to life.
“I have asked officers to see if buying the cinema is possible and sensible.”
The 1930s art deco cinema, which has been empty for a number of years, was bought by TSP in 2006.
It has been on English Heritage’s at risk list since 1991.
Save The State campaigner Joe Gardner said he is relieved TSP wants to sell it.
He said: “We are delighted that the council are now considering options for the State.
“The building has a great deal of potential and for the last five years we have campaigned for the building to be brought into public ownership and be used as an entertainment venue for the local community.
“TSP properties have done very little to stop break-ins and vandalism in the six years they have owned the building so news of the sale comes somewhat as a relief.
“We are keen to assist the council in any way that we can over the coming months to ensure that the State is once again a hub for entertainment in Thurrock.”
The now defunct Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation commissioned a £50,000 feasibility study into the building in 2010, and came up with a £7.4million plan to restore the building.
It suggested combining a three-screen cinema with a live entertainment venue, restaurant, coffee shop, bar, and banqueting facilities.
In January planning permission was granted to turn the empty building into a leisure and conference centre, housing a restaurant, bar and shops.
The State Cinema was built for a cost of £100,000 and first opened in 1938.
It retains many of its original art deco features, including its Compton Organ.
The rare organ was stripped of its pipes after a break in last year, before this, it was one of only four of the organs in the country preserved it its original state.
To see the listing, log on to http://commercialsearch.savills.co.uk/property-detail/1152