Astoria, 1-2 Blenheim Place, Brighton,
HOARDINGS have gone up around a former cinema ahead of demolition work in the new year.
Workers have been at former Astoria cinema in Gloucester Place, Brighton, in recent days.
The hoardings have been erected ahead of work to transform the site into a luxury flat complex.
The developers have said that the disruptive work of gutting and demolishing the 1933 structure will not begin until January.
A number of proposals for the site, which was used as a bingo hall after its closure as a cinema in 1977, have been proposed since its final closure in 2007.
In January of this year, London developers Ktesius, working with investment firm Cogress, won approval to build a seven-storey apartment block to include one, two, three and four-bedroom homes with shops and restaurants on the ground floor.
There will be no affordable homes but the two companies will pay £1.6 million to Brighton and Hove City Council to fund inexpensive houses elsewhere in the city.
One Hove resident who works close to the site said that work had begun.
The man, who requested to remain anonymous, said: “I noticed they were changing the security fence so I went and asked what was going on.
“The guys said the work was going to last around six months and they have to strip the inside first.
“I asked what it was like inside.
“He said, ‘it’s an absolute state, there’s a load of dead pigeons and the asbestos has to be stripped out.’”
A spokesman for Ktesius Projects said: “We are hugely excited about the prospect of working to deliver a new development of this nature in Brighton.
“We know that this is a sensitive location.
“We want to be a good neighbour and we will be talking to residents and businesses about our plans.
“We will commence erection of hoarding around the site shortly and can reassure you that construction will not commence until early 2018.
“We are looking carefully at the work that is required and how we will manage this.
“As soon as we have a clear programme and start date, we will be talking to our neighbours about it.”
The Argus understand the developers are putting together a newsletter to be distributed to nearby residents and businesses to reassure them that any disruption will be managed sensitively.
The site was listed as Grade II in November 2000.
But after repeated attempts to save the site fell through permission for demolition was granted by the Secretary of State for Communities in 2011.
l For all our previous stories about the Astoria and to see old photographs of the cinema visit theargus.co.uk.
Source: The Argus