Survey launched over future of old ABC Cinema in Luton amid rumours of residential plans

Campaign group Save Our Town has launched a survey about the old ABC Cinema in Luton town centre amid rumours of an upcoming planning application.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 1:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 3:41 pm
The 1930s art deco ABC cinema has lain empty since 2000.

Sources at the lobby group claim that a planning application to convert the redundant building on George Street into residential use is imminent.

Now, they are asking for the public's views on what they would like to see for the building's future use.

A Save Our Town spokesman stated: "Obviously, we at Save our Town are interested in saving all things Lutonian and you don’t get much more Lutonian than our precious ABC Savoy Cinema on George Street.

The ABC / Savoy Cinema at the height of its glory in 1957

"Those of us of a certain age all have a tale or two to tell, not least the infamous queue up George Street West, which was almost a social event in itself.

"Despite attempts to restore her to her former glory for the good of the community, the time has come to accept that she is destined for development.

"At a recent public meeting with Luton Heritage Forum, this was confirmed although no plans have yet been formally submitted...

"So just maybe we can point the new custodians in the right direction, what it is about the old girl you would like to see pan out for her future?"

Associated British Cinemas opened the 2,000-seat cinema in October 1938.

The name was changed to ABC in 1961 and it underwent several changes over the decades, before reverting back to its former name.

Its end came with the opening of the 11-screen multiplex cinema Cineworld opened in the new Galaxy Centre in Bridge Street in October 1998.

The ABC closed for good on November 23, 2000 and the building has remained empty, and decaying, ever since.

To have you say on Save Our Town's survey, click here.