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Council Buzz over interest in iconic building Posted On 15 January 2021

Near-derelict former bingo hall could become an arts and music centre

 

Hopes have been raised that an iconic, but “semi-derelict” building may be turned into an arts and music centre.

Buckinghamshire Council were told this week that two separate investors had shown interest in the former cinema-turned-bingo hall on Aylesbury High Street, and both were thought to be preparing in-detail proposals.

And should the plans come to fruition councillors were optimistic an arts centre would breathe new life into the High Street.

The council-owned building started life as the Pavilion Cinema and then a Granada before it closed in 1972. Following that it was a Granada bingo hall, then Gala Bingo in 1991 and, latterly, Buzz Bingo.

However, according to the Bucks Free Press, Councillor Steve Bowles, the cabinet member for town centre regeneration, told a Budget Scrutiny Select Committee inquiry: “Things are moving on Gala (Buzz) Bingo.

“We’ve been looking to try to get a person to take that on and we’ve actually had two people who have looked at that building. We’re awaiting their business cases.

“I’m keen to push that forward, it’s been stood in a sort of derelict condition for a number of years and it’s a big premises on the High Street.”

“I’m keen to try to get a use in there that’s going to draw people back into our town, perhaps something along the lines of an arts music centre, and that’s what one of the people looking around thought to bring into the town.”

Such a venue – should the plans be acceptable – might encourage people to stay in the High Street to shop and visit eateries and bars.

He said: “I think that’s the trick going forward. We need to get different usages within our town centres. Gala Bingo is a really iconic building in Aylesbury.”

The council were also told there was a “sufficient” fund to cover maintenance costs until a decision was made.

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