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Plans to turn Ringwood Regal building into homes will go before public at exhibition

CAMPAIGNERS trying to save a historic Ringwood cinema may have to admit defeat after a developer unveiled plans to turn it into flats.

A two-day public exhibition has been announced to start this Wednesday at Ringwood Town Council’s Gateway HQ, hosted by architecture and planning service Evans and Travers. There it will showcase its ideas for the 1-7 and 11-13 Meeting House Lane, as well as a current car wash site.

That overall spot includes the Ringwood Regal building, which the Ringwood Regal Action Group (RRAG) had been trying to salvage.

Ringwood's Regal Cinema in the Market Place
Ringwood's Regal Cinema in the Market Place

It had wanted to buy the building, which is dilapidated having been shut for 15 years, from owner U+I Development, proposing a cinema and theatre building for community use.

The site was even visited by actor Christopher Biggins as the campaign gathered pace, but it faced an uphill battle because the owner already had a deal in place with Brownsea Build.

Speaking to the A&T, RRAG chairman Mike Tuck claimed U+I had wanted £2m for the site, adding: "Without a backer we could not raise that amount."

On Friday, Evans and Travers gave a short presentation to members of the town council’s planning committee. Chartered town planner Carol Evans said the proposed development would contain a mixture of flats and houses.

The public exhibition will run from 10am to 4pm this Wednesday and between midday and 6pm on Thursday.

As reported in the A&T, the Regal was a former corn exchange which originally opened in 1868 and subsequently became a cinema and then a concert venue in the 1970s, hosting bands including Status Quo.

It later became a night club before closing in 2002, after which it fell into a state of disrepair.

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