Mason Moore & Vaughan Moore | 24 July 2023
HINCKLEY’S LANDMARK former cinema has been sold to a local company specialising in real estate and construction, the Hinckley Free Press have exclusively learnt.
According to new property documents filed with the HM Land Registry, the former Danilo Cinema, which was opened in 1936, and last used in the 2000s as a sports bar, has been sold for the six figure sum of £350,000 earlier this year, on Friday, 21 April.
The property – known legally as the MGM Cinema – has been officially sold to Wigston Estates Limited, who are based in Quinton Rise, Oadby, where Nathaniel Singh Chima, aged 27, serves as both the company director and project manager respectively.
The Free Press carried out a land registry check this week after receiving multiple mentions of activity from readers regarding contractors carrying out works inside.
The news comes eight weeks after the roof was removed and the interior wooden beams were exposed, and the ‘for sale’ sign was taken down off the frontage.
Before changing hands, the former picture house was privately owned by Warrington-based firm APV Leisure Limited, who snapped it up 28 years ago in 1995, and retained ownership following the closure of All Bar Sports, which is why it sat vacant for years.
During the two whole decades that it sat in a dilapidated state, police described it as a “death trap” and urged urban explorers to stay away, citing asbestos and rotting wood decaying among their main reasons, though this did not stop urban explorers.
Back in 2016, other developers launched a demolition bid, with hopes of flats and retail, but Historic England’s then-Inspector for Historic Buildings and Areas, Eilis Scott, was strongly and firmly opposed, stressing they had not made a restoration attempt, and the proposed demolition would ultimately take away from the conservation area.
Speaking at the time, she explained: “We believe the loss of the cinema will result in harm to the significance of the conservation area.
“The loss of what was an important public amenity for the town will erode the evidential, historic, communal, and aesthetic value of the conservation area.
“We believe there is an opportunity here to adapt and reuse the former cinema for a variety of uses and create development of high quality and creativity which seeks to reveal and enhance heritage significance.”
Whilst the new buyer has been named, their intentions for the building still remain unclear, as no planning permission has yet been lodged with the borough council, meaning plans may remain undisclosed for some time before light is shed on it.
The Hinckley Free Press have reached out to the buyer for comment, but have not heard back at the time of publication (Monday, 24 July).