Last picture show for Camden: Less than a year after the closure of the Parkway cinema, the Plaza is under threat
Thursday 12 May 1994
The company which owns the Plaza cinema, Bernard Sunley, has told the venue's management that their 20-year lease will not be renewed when it expires in September. Sunley also own the nearby Parkway, which closed last August after a long-running campaign to save the art deco-style auditorium.
Both cinemas are among a number of buildings near Camden Town Tube station which Sunley hope to sell for several million pounds. Although last year plans to build a seven storey shopping and leisure complex on the site were refused, the area has been marked out by Camden Council as suitable for redevelopment.
Andy Engel, director of Artifical Eye, who run the 340-seat Plaza, said Sunley had refused to renew the lease unless the rent was tripled to pounds 100,000. He accused the landlord of forcing the cinema to close even though no replacement tenant has been confirmed. 'It looks as if Camden Town will have no cinemas after September, which will be a great loss for the whole of North London,' he said. 'We had hoped that the landlords would let us stay until they had a tenant, but they say they want us out.
'That means the place will fall into disrepair, and maybe that's what they want. If the place is a ruin they can say to the council, 'let's pull it down'.'
Mr Engel said the single-screen Plaza had always traded in the black under his company's management. Artificial Eye also run the Lumiere, Renoir, and Chelsea cinemas.
Paul Gill, a director of Sunley, said he was in negotiations with a number of prospective buyers, and that a deal could be finalised within weeks.
He said the Plaza's lease would not be renewed as to do so could jeopardise a potential sale, and that the cinema's subsequent fate would be a matter for its new owners.
The Plaza is built on the site of a former dairy and dates from 1909, making it London's oldest cinema. It has built up a strong reputation as an arthouse venue, with recent screenings including The Age Of Innocence, Manhattan Murder Mystery and Little Buddha.
With its closure Camden-based film fans' nearest cinemas will be the Screen on the Hill at Belsize Park, Screen on the Green at Islington or Odeon Swiss Cottage.
Camden councillor Gerry Harrison, who was one of the leading figures in the fight to save the Parkway from closure, said: 'At a time when film audiences are increasing it seems particularly sad that another cinema is closing.
Life & Style blogs
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?
Black Friday: Best beauty deals
Coke milk? Coca-Cola to launch premium milk brand called Fairlife
Black Friday: best UK tech deals on iPads, Macs, PS4 and more
Black Friday: From Bicester Village to Amazon, best fashion deals
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...
£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...
£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...
£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...