Cinema to get a new lease of life as a pub

Former Art Deco Ritz Cinema at High Street West, Wallsend.'RE 1108143755
Former Art Deco Ritz Cinema at High Street West, Wallsend.'RE 1108143755

A former cinema is to be turned into a pub, creating 50 new jobs in the process.

JD Wetherspoon PLC has been given the green light to turn the former art deco Ritz cinema, in High Street West, Wallsend, into a public house.

The cinema opened in 1939 but closed in 1962, operating as a bingo hall until 2011.

Wetherspoons is planning to spend £1.8m to bring the building back to life, including restoring the art deco frontage.

Work could start in September and be finished by Christmas.

And Mayor Norma Redfearn has welcomed the latest development as further evidence that confidence is growing in Wallsend.

“We are working very hard to regenerate Wallsend so it’s a great place to live and shop, and has increased employment opportunities for our residents,” she said.

“The council is investing significantly in the town and its future and we have some fantastic evidence of the difference the new customer first centre and library is making to increasing footfall in the town.

“Now we have further support from the private sector to ensure the success of Wallsend for the future.”

Other regeneration projects taking place in Wallsend include the new Customer First Centre at the revamped Forum shopping centre, which has seen an increase in visitors.

An agreement has been secured for the future of Wallsend Town Hall as a new small business centre while the Civic Hall in The Green also has a new future with its success as a tearoom, wedding and conference venue.

The former Grade 2 listed Wallsend Library is currently being marketed and planning permission is being sought by the council for the demolition of the former Police Station for the development of 25 houses and 16 apartments.

In addition to the town centre developments the successful completion of the Wallsend Parks restoration project is providing a attractive setting for a range of leisure activities that are benefitting both residents and visitors.

Mrs Redfearn said: “There is so much going on in Wallsend and its really exciting for me to see the town centre becoming a vibrant place for both residents and visitors.

“This is just the start as the next phase of the Forum shopping centre improvements, development of the Swans shipyard site and our plans to provide more affordable housing will deliver much more.”