Nearly 30,000 people have thrown their support behind a petition in a last-ditch bid to save one of London’s oldest cinemas from demolition, Evening Standard reports. Thousands have opposed redevelopment of the Kensington Odeon, which closed after 89 years at the end of August after planning permission was granted for the Art Deco building to be transformed into 42 apartments and townhouses above a seven-screen subterranean movie house.
In an online petition posted on 38 Degrees 26,104 people have pledged their support – less than 4,000 shy of its 30,000 target. Developers Minerva won permission to knock down the old cinema — apart from its classical façade — during a meeting at Kensington and Chelsea town hall in July. The decision provoked criticism from the Save Odeon Cinema campaign, which has seen support from actors including Benedict Cumberbatch, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart.
Don Walker, from the group, said at the time: “In our opinion this approved scheme is a poor replacement for one of London’s most important cinemas.” Adam Unger, from cinema preservation campaign group Cinema and Theatre Association, said historic features such as marble staircases, ornate floors and plasterwork would be lost.
A Minerva (Holland Park) Ltd spokesman previously said: “We have collaborated closely with the council and local residents to bring forward a development which will benefit the local community.”
The cinema’s replacement is due to open in 2018