South Lanarkshire councillors have approved plans to develop homes at the former Vogue bingo and cinema in Hamilton.
At the planning committee meeting on November 22, elected members heard the proposal from Clyde Valley Housing Association to build 23 social rented flats at the site.
It has been derelict since the late 1990s when Vogue closed, and the developers will build a five-storey block of flats with 23 homes and amenity space. The existing facade will be retained with some minor alterations.
All flats will be available for affordable rent, and the development will consist of 16 two-bedroom flats and seven one-bedroom flats. There are plans to include an internal bike store, external bin storage, three accessible parking bays and one drop-off and pick-up space.
Councillors approved the plans and welcomed the development for rejuvenating the derelict B-listed building and maintaining the original facade.
Chair of the planning committee Richard Nelson, Larkhall, said: “I think this affordable housing development from Clyde Valley Housing for 23 flats, in my opinion is what Hamilton needs.
“It is good to see that Clyde Valley Housing is taking on that project. This building has been hard to maintain costing the council £3,000 to £5,000 per year. I think to see this site being redeveloped in the town centre is needed, I certainly welcome the plans.”
Councillor Lesley McDonald, Larkhall, echoed these thoughts, and she said: “I’d certainly welcome this, it’s been a blot on the landscape of Hamilton for far too long, it’s a beautiful facade and I hope it is treated respectfully. I notice there’s to be an alteration of the existing facade, and I just wondered exactly what the alteration is?”
Planning officers confirmed that the alteration to the facade would be to bring it up to modern building standards and to ensure there is disabled access.
The former Vogue Cinema and Bingo Hall opened in 1921 and is an example of an art deco classical building. It was listed as a Category B building in 1979.
There’s been many applications to change the use of the building since its closure in the late 90s. An application was approved in 1998 to create an arts centre, library, theatre, cafe and bars in the building.
In 2001, there was a change of use to extend it to a nightclub, licenced bar and food court which was approved. However, none of the proposals were implemented.
In 2004, an application was approved to demolish the building and train and renovate the facade and to build an entertainment office. And in 2007 approval was granted to erect a four-storey office block. None of these proposals were developed either.
Planning officers recommended the plans as the proposal will have a positive impact on the visual amenity of the town centre, provide housing and bring a long-vacant site back into use The proposed development will have no adverse impact on the residential amenity, surrounding area or the historic character of the Hamilton Conservation Area.