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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 April 2006, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Businessman eyes up 'ugly' Imax
The Imax theatre on Bournemouth seafront (pic courtesy of freefoto.com)
The row over the Imax is to be heard on 5 June
A Bournemouth businessman has shown an interest in the town's controversial unused Imax cinema - which blocks a popular seafront view.

Richard Carr has been eyeing up the giant "eyesore", said Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood.

Mr Ellwood had been meeting with lease holder Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (Nilgosc) about its future.

The building shut in 2005 for a refit but never reopened.

Nilgosc said it had taken the site off operator Sheridan's hands after many problems.

A legal row began when the committee started to look for a new operator towards the end of last year.

It will be interesting to learn what plans (Richard Carr) might have for the building
Tobias Ellwood MP

Mr Ellwood wants the building, which sits on a prime waterfront position, to be turned into a swimming pool or ice rink.

He said: "It has also emerged that Bournemouth businessman Mr Richard Carr is showing an interest in the entire building.

"Bearing in mind the call from thousands of residents to replace the IMAX with an indoor swimming pool it will be interesting to learn what plans he might have for the building."

Last month, council leader Richard Smith said he was "sick and tired" of Nilgosc "ducking their responsibilities".

He said: "It is staggering, given the levels of publicity and public outcry, that no efforts appear to have been made by Nilgosc to reopen a major attraction in this building."

But Nilgosc said no decision could be taken until the legal row with Sheridan is heard on 5 June.

Never reopened

The building, which is regularly dubbed one of the country's ugliest buildings, opened in 2002 but immediate problems meant only normal films could be shown.

In 2003 it was closed four days a week out of season and never reopened after it was shut in March 2005 for a refit.

A spokesperson for Mr Ellwood said if Nilgosc loses the legal row, Sheridan will retain control of the cinema and will be unable to alter the terms of its use for another six years.

The council has previously said that to buy the leasehold would mean a council tax rise to residents of about 5%.


SEE ALSO:
Cinema's future under spotlight
22 Mar 06 |  Dorset
Should grotesque buildings be demolished?
20 Aug 04 |  Have Your Say
What is the worst eyesore in the UK?
21 Nov 03 |  Have Your Say


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