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Former Derbyshire Bingo Hall to be Demolished
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Former Derbyshire Bingo Hall to be Demolished

A historic former theatre building that spent almost 40 years as Walkers Bingo Club, may be demolished and converted into luxury apartments.

According to the Derby Telegraph, the plans have been submitted to Amber Valley Borough Council regarding the Somercotes building. The council will make a decision in the coming months.

The historic building was erected in 1912 as the Premier Electric Theatre, a deluxe cinema with an original capacity of three hundred people, including provision for leather armchairs and luxury seating. Eventually, this capacity was increased to a whopping one thousand people.

However, in November 1960, presumably around Guy Fawkes Night, the interior was greatly damaged by a firework that was lit inside the building. Subsequent plans to renovate the cinema fell by the wayside after a series of failed reconstruction attempts throughout the 1960s.

Thankfully, it was bingo to the rescue! In 1974, the former cinema was converted into a bingo hall which stood as a pillar of the Somercotes community for almost forty years.

The Walkers Bingo Club, which was the seventies equivalent of a bricks and mortar Buzz Bingo, was a great success, lasting as a bingo club for almost as much time as the site had been a cinema throughout the first half of the century.

Unfortunately, due to the difficulty of maintaining a high street business in the aftermath of the financial crash, the bingo club had to close down in November 2013.

Over the next few years, the site fell into further disrepair and even had a run in with the law after industrial amounts of cannabis plants were discovered on site.

Under these new plans, much of the old edifice will be demolished to make way for dozens of swanky apartments. However, some of the most period defining features, such as the large window overlooking Nottingham Road, would be integrated into the new design.

The developers who submitted the application stated that although their new blueprint was bold and forward thinking, the heritage of the building was still incredibly important.

The developer, Windsor Patania, said “We strongly believe that it is important not to totally erase the memory of what the building has been in the past, so to keep a stronger connection with the local community.”

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