Future of Stevenage Rileys snooker club to be decided tonight

Rileys in Stevenage

Rileys in Stevenage - Credit: Archant

Plans to demolish a building which is nearly 80 years old are set to be discussed tonight (Wednesday).

A design of the homes developers hope to build on the current Rileys site

A design of the homes developers hope to build on the current Rileys site - Credit: Archant

The planning and development committee for Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) are due to meet to decide on an application submitted by Churchill Retirement Living (CRL) to demolish the Rileys sports and snooker club, on Letchmore Road in Stevenage, and replace it with 38 sheltered housing apartments.

CRL held an exhibition in January detailing plans to build 11 two-bedroom apartments and 27 one-bedroom apartments on the site.

The plans have not gone down well with residents after CRL planning director Andrew Burgess claimed the building was of “no architectural value”. The building originally opened in 1935 as the Astonia cinema before being converted into a bingo hall and then a snooker bar.

Brian Norman, of nearby Alleynes Road, said: “I don’t think it would be right for the council to approve these plans. This building is one of the few things that makes Stevenage unique.

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“You visit different towns nowadays and you can hardly tell them apart. It’s coming up to being a century old – why knock it down now? More and more landmarks are being destroyed and replaced with schemes like this. I think it will really take away from the character of the town.”

Hugh Madgin, who lives in Baker Street and is the author of history book Stevenage Through Time, said: “This is yet another example of Stevenage shedding its heritage in the name of housing. It would be so much nicer to see it return to its former use as a cinema or some kind of arts installation.”

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If granted permission, CRL plan to demolish Rileys and complete all works by late 2015. Log on to www.thecomet24.co.uk tomorrow (Thursday) for the decision.

n SBC approved a similar application for 34 homes on land at the Hampson Park water tower on Meredith Road last month. The application, submitted by developer Taylor Wimpey, includes the retention of mature trees along Vardon Road and Meredith Road and new planting along the boundary with neighbouring Hampson Park.

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