St Albans lost its cinema when a new multiplex opened in Hemel Hempstead, and the Art Deco Odeon in London Road closed. Since then the residents of St Albans pressed the council to assist any operator willing to establish a new cinema in the city. Over the years this led to applications on a council-owned 3-level car park, which although apparently addressing the need for a new cinema, in reality were mainly about a large housing development. It was a classic case of DREAMS versus ISSUES. The Dream was a fine cinema for St Albans, and not a multiplex. The Issue - who would pay for this and how. The Civic Society of St Albans objected to a proposed developed on many grounds. It was run of the mill as seen all over the UK and not at home anywhere, type of architecture, out of scale with its context, that was going to ruin the town. It looked like the tail of arithmetic ( in order to pay for a new underground car park more flats were needed, i.e. more building height on a confined site ) was wagging the dog of the visual integrity and economic health of the town, and its civic dreams. The Society, jointly with the REX cinema of Hemel Hampsted, hailed as one of the best cinemas in England, commissioned Studio Bednarski to analyse the following questions :

The answer to all was NO. The car park could be re-used, and new two screen cinema with art and craft studios for rent placed next to it created above the car park, still within the height outlines of the existing buildings in the vicinity. Initial structural and economic studies suggest that such a project was viable.

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