11th hour bid to save Theatre Church in Astley Bridge

Paul Cohen outside the former theatre church

Paul Cohen outside the former theatre church

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , entertainment reporter

THE Theatres Trust has performed a U-turn — and launched an 11th hour bid to save the former Theatre Church.

The organisation, which initially raised no objections to the controversial planned demolition of the historic building in Astley Bridge, has now written to Bolton Council calling for the former theatre to be saved.

Bosses took the unusual step after learning about the lack of affordable theatre space available to Bolton’s thriving amateur dramatics groups.

The trust, which promotes the value of theatre buildings, has said that if the council does approve the application, a section 106 agreement should be made to provide money for a replacement venue.

It said: “The trust has become aware of a number of community groups who had a connection with the building for over 40 years until its closure in 2012 and who highly valued the use of the Theatre Church for both community and theatre use.

“Representatives from the Bolton Amateur Theatre Societies and CATS Youth Theatre have indicated they raised considerable community funds to bid for the building at the time of its sale, though were unsuccessful.”

In summer 2012, the building’s owners, Bolton Methodist Circuit, rejected an offer of £300,000 raised by amateur dramatics groups.

The building, in Seymour Road, was eventually sold for £500,000 to private owners who opened Crystal Theatre, Function and Wedding Halls. Owners now plan to build nine houses on the site.

Paul Cohen, chairman of Bolton Amateur Theatre Societies (BATS), said: “We think that’s an amazing response, the fact that the trust has listened.

“It has seen that the theatre is important to Bolton because we have lost so many.

“The fact that it has recommended a section 106 is brilliant news because it will hopefully make the council sit up and listen."

The planning application will be discussed by councillors at a meeting on September 25. The building’s owner, Mohamed Nawaz Kulasi, was unavailable for comment.

Comments (10)

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9:31am Thu 4 Sep 14

Terry McC says...

The building’s owner, Mohamed Nawaz Kulasi, was unavailable for comment. says it all he and his partners (family) had plenty to say when he wanted a load of profit from building on his so called wedding venue
The building’s owner, Mohamed Nawaz Kulasi, was unavailable for comment. says it all he and his partners (family) had plenty to say when he wanted a load of profit from building on his so called wedding venue Terry McC
  • Score: 13

10:08am Thu 4 Sep 14

thomas222 says...

Oh Dear that's thrown a spanner in the works. It could now become a expensive white Elephant. Ah well that's what happens when taken for granted it was a done deal to build Houses some times..
Oh Dear that's thrown a spanner in the works. It could now become a expensive white Elephant. Ah well that's what happens when taken for granted it was a done deal to build Houses some times.. thomas222
  • Score: 9

10:27am Thu 4 Sep 14

marco999 says...

Brilliant news. Let’s hope the appeal is successful and the theatre church can continue to serve the community as it has done for so many years. This place is part of the heritage of Bolton’s ‘Am-dram’ scene and to lose it would be a crying shame. I agree that change must take place if society is to move on but not when it is at the cost of our history and heritage. There are too many beautiful buildings being knocked down in the name of progress and to save the theatre church would offer hope to all those of us who possess imagination, and can see a future in the old and the new co-existing in our town.
Brilliant news. Let’s hope the appeal is successful and the theatre church can continue to serve the community as it has done for so many years. This place is part of the heritage of Bolton’s ‘Am-dram’ scene and to lose it would be a crying shame. I agree that change must take place if society is to move on but not when it is at the cost of our history and heritage. There are too many beautiful buildings being knocked down in the name of progress and to save the theatre church would offer hope to all those of us who possess imagination, and can see a future in the old and the new co-existing in our town. marco999
  • Score: 25

11:45am Thu 4 Sep 14

Djorkaeff's right peg says...

marco999 wrote:
Brilliant news. Let’s hope the appeal is successful and the theatre church can continue to serve the community as it has done for so many years. This place is part of the heritage of Bolton’s ‘Am-dram’ scene and to lose it would be a crying shame. I agree that change must take place if society is to move on but not when it is at the cost of our history and heritage. There are too many beautiful buildings being knocked down in the name of progress and to save the theatre church would offer hope to all those of us who possess imagination, and can see a future in the old and the new co-existing in our town.
Totally agree, Marco999.
[quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: Brilliant news. Let’s hope the appeal is successful and the theatre church can continue to serve the community as it has done for so many years. This place is part of the heritage of Bolton’s ‘Am-dram’ scene and to lose it would be a crying shame. I agree that change must take place if society is to move on but not when it is at the cost of our history and heritage. There are too many beautiful buildings being knocked down in the name of progress and to save the theatre church would offer hope to all those of us who possess imagination, and can see a future in the old and the new co-existing in our town.[/p][/quote]Totally agree, Marco999. Djorkaeff's right peg
  • Score: 11

10:44pm Thu 4 Sep 14

united99 says...

Cut the bull ----
Put your money where your mouth is and come up with the money to buy it back and let's see how many people use the bloody place - I bet you once they realise the place is crumbling and no bugger using the place what a big mistake it was...
Just hope they make a healthy profit because that is what is all about - dogs world out there every man for himself that's how you survive.
Cut the bull ---- Put your money where your mouth is and come up with the money to buy it back and let's see how many people use the bloody place - I bet you once they realise the place is crumbling and no bugger using the place what a big mistake it was... Just hope they make a healthy profit because that is what is all about - dogs world out there every man for himself that's how you survive. united99
  • Score: -12

10:50pm Thu 4 Sep 14

pradagucci says...

The owners are not even legallay entitled to rent it to them, if they want to buy it back then the current owners should whack a massive price tag on it. 2 million sounds ok..........hopefull
y the theatre groups will get their return on investment in 200 years based on the number of people who come and watch theatre there!
The owners are not even legallay entitled to rent it to them, if they want to buy it back then the current owners should whack a massive price tag on it. 2 million sounds ok..........hopefull y the theatre groups will get their return on investment in 200 years based on the number of people who come and watch theatre there! pradagucci
  • Score: -9

11:12pm Thu 4 Sep 14

united99 says...

pradagucci wrote:
The owners are not even legallay entitled to rent it to them, if they want to buy it back then the current owners should whack a massive price tag on it. 2 million sounds ok..........hopefull

y the theatre groups will get their return on investment in 200 years based on the number of people who come and watch theatre there!
You know I know and they know no one went to that place - simples
It's this ego thing that they must save the heritage etc etc lol
There's more chance of it being used as a Bollywood theatre - now there's a thought ???
[quote][p][bold]pradagucci[/bold] wrote: The owners are not even legallay entitled to rent it to them, if they want to buy it back then the current owners should whack a massive price tag on it. 2 million sounds ok..........hopefull y the theatre groups will get their return on investment in 200 years based on the number of people who come and watch theatre there![/p][/quote]You know I know and they know no one went to that place - simples It's this ego thing that they must save the heritage etc etc lol There's more chance of it being used as a Bollywood theatre - now there's a thought ??? united99
  • Score: -8

11:15pm Thu 4 Sep 14

united99 says...

Djorkaeff's right peg wrote:
marco999 wrote:
Brilliant news. Let’s hope the appeal is successful and the theatre church can continue to serve the community as it has done for so many years. This place is part of the heritage of Bolton’s ‘Am-dram’ scene and to lose it would be a crying shame. I agree that change must take place if society is to move on but not when it is at the cost of our history and heritage. There are too many beautiful buildings being knocked down in the name of progress and to save the theatre church would offer hope to all those of us who possess imagination, and can see a future in the old and the new co-existing in our town.
Totally agree, Marco999.
Let's hope the theatre church can continue to serve the community - the places was empty for years...
[quote][p][bold]Djorkaeff's right peg[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: Brilliant news. Let’s hope the appeal is successful and the theatre church can continue to serve the community as it has done for so many years. This place is part of the heritage of Bolton’s ‘Am-dram’ scene and to lose it would be a crying shame. I agree that change must take place if society is to move on but not when it is at the cost of our history and heritage. There are too many beautiful buildings being knocked down in the name of progress and to save the theatre church would offer hope to all those of us who possess imagination, and can see a future in the old and the new co-existing in our town.[/p][/quote]Totally agree, Marco999.[/p][/quote]Let's hope the theatre church can continue to serve the community - the places was empty for years... united99
  • Score: -8

7:21pm Wed 24 Sep 14

gale77 says...

hardly anybody used it when they could, and now the new owners have it, it will never be used as a theatre church again. so why not let somebody get some use out of the land. before it gets turned into yet another homeless hostel etc
hardly anybody used it when they could, and now the new owners have it, it will never be used as a theatre church again. so why not let somebody get some use out of the land. before it gets turned into yet another homeless hostel etc gale77
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Wed 24 Sep 14

thomas222 says...

gale77 wrote:
hardly anybody used it when they could, and now the new owners have it, it will never be used as a theatre church again. so why not let somebody get some use out of the land. before it gets turned into yet another homeless hostel etc
It has always been used until the owners made the rent a stupid amount thinking they would do what they wanted to. Its backfired big time.
[quote][p][bold]gale77[/bold] wrote: hardly anybody used it when they could, and now the new owners have it, it will never be used as a theatre church again. so why not let somebody get some use out of the land. before it gets turned into yet another homeless hostel etc[/p][/quote]It has always been used until the owners made the rent a stupid amount thinking they would do what they wanted to. Its backfired big time. thomas222
  • Score: 0

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