Cinema set to reopen as pub

Wallaw Cinema, Blyth which could be transformed into a Weatherspoons pub.
Wallaw Cinema, Blyth which could be transformed into a Weatherspoons pub.
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A HISTORIC art deco cinema derelict for the last seven years looks set be turned into a pub by a national chain.

J W Wetherspoon is currently in talks to buy the Grade II-listed Wallaw Cinema in Blyth’s Union Street and has submitted a planning application to convert the premises.

The Wallaw, opened by Newcastle firm Percy Lindsay Browne, Son and Harding in 1937, was the last of five cinemas in Blyth to close after a long struggle to stay open played out against a backdrop of dwindling audience numbers.

The last film to be screened there, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, was shown on April 29, 2004, before the cinema finally closed its doors.

The last live show to be staged at the Wallaw was Blyth Operatic Society’s production of South Pacific in March 1965.

Eddie Gershon, a spokesman for the Hertfordshire-based pub chain, said: “We can confirm that Wetherspoon is in negotiations to purchase the former Wallaw cinema in Blyth.

“The company has also submitted a planning application to convert the derelict building into a Wetherspoon pub.

“Wetherspoon has enjoyed great success in the region, and we are keen to open a pub in Blyth.

“Wetherspoon has an excellent reputation for converting an array of former buildings, including cinemas, into pubs.

“We believe that our style of pub will appeal to a wide range of people in the town and be an asset to the area.”

A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council confirmed that a planning application has been received and is currently at the validation stage.