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Odeon building to get top level protection

Odeon building to get top level protection

Thursday 22 May 2014

Odeon building to get top level protection

Thursday 22 May 2014

Jersey’s Odeon cinema looks set to be given the same heritage protection as Mont Orgueil castle - even though it was built more than 700 years later.

The Planning Department is reviewing the heritage value of all the Island’s sites of special interest and Jersey Heritage has recommended that the cinema, which was built in 1952, be given 'grade 1' status - the highest protection possible.

Director of Planning Policy, Kevin Pilley, said that the grade 1 listing is being recommended because of the Odeon's historical and architectural significance, both locally and outside the Island.

Freedom Church bought the property in 2012 for £1 million, and want to develop it into a new town youth centre. In a letter to them, the Department explains the building’s historic interest saying: "Cinema buildings define the history and culture of twentieth-century society and as an exemplar of the genre from the post-war period the Jersey Odeon is a unique surviving example.

"The Jersey Odeon compares very favourably to the limited examples of the period within the British Isles. Similar to the way in which the Festival of Britain provided a cultural impetus in mainland Britain, the building can be seen as symbolic of Jersey’s regeneration after wartime occupation."

Externally, the building is virtually intact although the original entrance doors, the Odeon sign and part of the canopy are now gone.

Internally it has fallen into disrepair, something the Freedom Church's team of volunteers is working hard to rectify. They want to get the bottom floor fitted out as a centre for young people, but Pastor Tim Bond said the Church is short of around £250,000 and skilled tradesmen to finish the job:

“The aspiration for the building is for it to be a hub that serves the community. There is currently no youth base for young people between the ages of 11 and 18 and we want to seek to provide a space for the kids we already work with, where they can go and enjoy being.

“We are doing all the work ourselves with volunteers and it’s a slow process, carpentry and the like and we need skilled volunteers to help us create this space.

“We hope to run three or four sessions a week which will grow as the realization occurs within St Helier that it has become a valid space.”

The grade 1 listing could restrict some of the internal work, but Mr Pilley said that would be considered during the planning application process.

The Grade 1 listing is given to buildings of exceptional public and heritage interest to Jersey, and which are of importance outside the island. They have to be outstanding examples of a particular historical period, architectural style, building type or archaeological site.

As well as Mont Orgueil, buildings with Grade 1 protection include Seymour Tower, Greve de L’ecq Tower, the Central Market, the States Buildings and Royal Court, Bonne Nuit Harbour, St Peter’s Parish Cannon, and the AA Call Box in Trinity.

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