PLANNING chiefs have given the thumbs down to a mixed development including a performance space at the city’s former Odeon cinema building.

Proposed alterations to the iconic Grade II listed building by the Brook Group are recommended for refusal by planning officers at Cheshire West and Chester Council.

The planning application, due to be considered by councillors at a meeting in Winsford on Tuesday (June 21), proposes the vacant cinema should be broken down into retail, restaurant, bar and performance spaces.

But principal planning officer Nial Casselden says six per cent of the floor space would be retail, almost three-quarters would be used for cafe, restaurant and bar purposes, including a late night bar and 22% would be available for a theatre, performance space or cinema with a capacity for 466 seats.

The council has had 55 objections from individuals and five letters of support with objections also coming in from the Cinema Theatre Trust, Chester Civic Trust, Chester Communities Together, the Cinema Theatre Association, the Odeon Action Group and the Theatres Trust.

The Odeon Action Group insists the performance or cinema space ‘has no merit and would not operate viably’.

It points out the main use of the building would be for food and drink and suggests there may be an over concentration of drinking outlets in the area.