MYSTERY surrounds the withdrawal of plans which included a new cinema at the former Odeon.
South Yorkshire-based nightclub operator The Brook Group only submitted the mixed development scheme to the city council last Tuesday but on Friday the application was withdrawn.
In a note to the council, Tony Barton of Donald Insall Associates Ltd, on behalf of Brook, said his clients had decided to withdraw the plans after they were leaked to the Press.
Brook were this week unavailable for comment but council insiders believe this is only a temporary hitch.
Meanwhile, city MP Christine Russell called on the city council to talk to Brook and ING, the backers behind the Northgate Development regeneration scheme, to see if it is possible to turn the building into a multi-purpose arts centre instead.
ING is struggling to finance the Northgate scheme, partly due to costly elements such as the performing arts centre – the replacement for the Gateway Theatre – and the conversion of the Odeon building could be a cheaper alternative.
She said: “Perhaps it would be an opportune moment for all parties – ING, Brook and the city council – to get round the table to discuss the future of the Odeon building as I believe there could be a win-win situation with the provision of a multi-purpose arts centre.”
Ms Russell has wondered if the pieces of the Northgate Development “jigsaw” ought to be moved around to make the project financially viable.
She believes the library could stay where it is – and alongside an arts centre at the Odeon – would support the city council policy of maintaining a cultural quarter in that sector of the city.
Ms Russell is also unhappy about the planned bus station, believing such a large area is not needed and instead super bus stops could bring people into the heart of the city.
Ms Russell had been unimpressed with Brook’s plans at the Odeon, mainly because there was only provision for a one screen cinema, which she does not consider viable.