SELLING off a former Beatles music venue has been put on hold as councillors could have other plans for the iconic building.
The Adelphi Theatre in Bath Road could be temporarily used as a cinema whilst the Empire Cinema Complex in Slough town centre disappears for about three years as part of the redevelopment of Queensmere shopping centre.
Slough Borough Council is needing to sell up to £600m worth of properties and land in order to reduce its £760m borrowing debt and £479m blackhole.
The council bought the town’s last Adelphi Theatre, which is currently being used as a Buzz Bingo Hall, for £4.6m in 2018. However, it was put on the market to “gauge interest” with potential buyers earlier this year.
Council leader James Swindlehurst (Lab: Cippenham Green) said they received a couple of offers of interest for the site with one potential buyer.
The local authority’s property advisor Avison Young published an asset disposal strategy, which identified 108 saleable properties and land. It made a list of assets that are ‘surplus’ to the council, meaning those buildings are not needed for its day-to-day operations.
The Adelphi Theatre, which saw acts such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Roy Orbison perform there in the 1960s, is part of that list.
The cinema and theatre association, which campaigns to save historic cinemas and theatres from disappearing, was concerned that Slough’s last Adelphi Theatre could be demolished for development.
However, senior councillors sitting on the cabinet sub-committee for asset disposals told officers at its first meeting on Thursday, October 13, to hold off selling the iconic building.
Cabinet councillors and officers will enter talks with British Land, who are redeveloping the Queensmere shopping centre, and the potential buyer to see if they can preserve the Adelphi.
This could involve turning the theatre into a temporary cinema for about three years.
Cllr Swindlehurst said: “We clearly have a need to consider having some form of boutique cinema that would be provided while we talk about a longer-term future.
“The concern about the Adelphi – and we’ve had a couple of offers of interest for it – is that it is the only cinema-sized site left in the town and we know we are about to lose our cinema. So, I do want to make sure that we have that discussion.”
If the Adelphi Theatre does become a temporary cinema, further talks will be held on its future at a later stage.