8 February 2022

Ashford’s retro cinema prepares for a new chapter

Our work with Ashford Borough Council has reached an exciting new milestone. We are actively seeking interested parties to repurpose the town’s former Odeon cinema.

The thriving Kent town is currently undergoing a revival driven by its changing community needs and younger and more diverse population. The building itself, which has also been a Mecca Bingo, was opened in 1936 and was designed by Andrew Mather, who was responsible for designing many of the other Odeon cinemas across the UK.

The plan is to retain and enhance the front of the building facing the High Street to create an active entrance and frontage to the Lower High Street. The rear of the building which houses the old auditorium will be demolished and replaced by a new extension that provides a modern, flexible space which will open up and enhance views to the iconic Grade I listed St Mary’s Church.

Stuart Harris, Chief Operating Officer of Milligan, said: “This is an exciting and unique opportunity for Ashford and the right operator. The Odeon has so much history and is located in the heart of the town centre. We hope that the inspiration for its future will build on this heritage and create a thriving new community that brings back the life and excitement that the building once had.

“The beauty of the building is it provides an exciting opportunity for a range of operators; craft or cultural destination, hospitality, co-working, wellness or leisure with retail and commerce woven through to put their own unique stamp on the building.

“Ashford’s economy is growing and it’s underpinned by a positive culture of enterprise.

“There’s plenty going on in the town. Venues like The Coachworks are already blending dining, drinking, co-working, art, music and culture and creating much needed communities out of historic buildings. Elwick Place and the Curious Brewery are proving that Ashford is at the forefront of modern living and building local brands.

“The Odeon opportunity could do that in the heart of the town centre and return a much-loved and repurposed building back to Ashford for everyone to enjoy,” added Stuart.

Cllr Nathan Iliffe, Ashford Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Corporate Property, said: “The former Odeon is arguably one of the most iconic buildings in Ashford and certainly one our community feels passionately about. Having it stand proud again as an important part of the town, with new and exciting reasons to visit, is going to benefit everyone in the area.”

Who to contact
If you are interested to learn more about this exciting opportunity, please contact Alex Standen at Cradick – email astanden@cradick.co.uk or call 07770 935263.

odeon, development, town centre, regeneration (ashford.gov.uk)