Step forward for climbing centre in old Picture House

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Plans to redevelop parts of the former Abbeydale Picture House as a centre for climbing and other community leisure uses have moved another step forward.

Details of the scheme for the landmark listed building have been submitted to the council.

Phil Robins at the former Abbeydale Cinema in Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, which he aims to turn into a climbing centre.

Phil Robins at the former Abbeydale Cinema in Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, which he aims to turn into a climbing centre.

Applicant Phil Robins, who has operated The Edge climbing centre in John Street for 19 years and bought the former cinema at auction for £150,000, is seeking permission to install short climbing walls for bouldering and to convert the back of what used to be the cinema screen for tall rope climbing.

Other parts of the building are due to be hired for yoga and exercise classes and lectures, and there would be a cafe. It is hoped to use the balcony seats to view adventure films.

“Climbing walls will be installed without the need for any structural building alterations,” the council is being told. “The building’s unique architectural heritage will be respected and kept intact allowing the building to return to its original purpose should a future market potential arise.”

A campaign to save the old picture house, built in 1920, was launched in 2003, and a Friends group used it for theatrical productions and rehearsals, concerts and community activities until going into administration in 2012.

It is hoped the building - in the “heart” of the climbing community - will be back in use early next year. The Abbey snooker hall and bar will be retained.