Film Industry Entrepreneur Takes on Chiswick Cinema Project

Picturehouse founder Lyn Goleby submits application to revise original proposal

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There are renewed hopes that Chiswick may finally get a new cinema after the founder of the Picturehouse chain has become personally involved in the project.

Lyn Goleby started Picturehouse in 1989 along with Tony Jones by buying the Phoenix cinema in Oxford and expanded it into a chain of arthouse cinemas with 24 locations across the UK. She is understood to have been paid a substantial amount for her stake in the company when it was acquired by Cineworld in 2012 for £47.3 million. She remained managing director of the group up until 2016 when she stepped down.

A company of which she is the sole director has lodged a planning application on 25 April for a ‘cantilevered steel structure with integrated lightning system’ at the front of the former Ballet Rambert site. The application is described as a modification of the design in the original planning permission P/2016/3850 which was granted in 2016 to Lochstill a company owned by Kim Gottlieb, a property developer who owns part of the site and is also behind the controversial 'Chiswick Curve' project a 32-storey skyscraper development on Chiswick High Road. The same firm of architects has been used for the designs in both the original application and the most recent one.

There have also been also unconfirmed local reports that a party wall agreement has recently been signed by the owner of the building where the cinema is to be built and businesses with premises next door.

In February 2017 Lyn Goleby acquired Picturehouse’s distribution business in a management buyout with personnel from the existing Picturehouse team including Marc Allenby. The new company was bought by Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire OBE who own Trafalgar Entertainment and renamed Trafalgar Releasing. Trafalgar Entertainment also own the Trafalgar Studios theatre in central London. Sir Howard is also joint chief executive of the Ambassador Theatre Group which has 45 theatres including the one in Richmond. He is also Chair of Rambert Dance Company.

Lyn Goleby is also currently involved in the conversion of a bingo hall in Bury St Edmunds to provide extra screens for the Abbeygate Cinema. The cinema was originally part of the Picturehouse chain but they were forced to sell by the government's Competition Commission when Cineworld bought Picturehouse because they also owned the only other cinema in the town. Abbeygate Cinema was purchased from Picturehouse by a newly formed company, Abbeygate Cinema Ltd, of which Lyn Goleby is the only active director. It is understood that this company is funding the expansion of the cinema.

Picturehouse bought the 6,500sq ft dance studio site at 96-98 Chiswick High Road from Rambert Dance Company for £1.5 million in 2013. It is understood that Kim Gottlieb owns 94 Chiswick High Road. The first plan for redevelopment of the two buildings to create five screens with seating for 420 people was put forward by Picturehouse for approval in 2014 and while it gained permission no work was done on the site. In 2016 a new plan was submitted by Lochstill, with the cinema complex remaining the same size but with more space for flats added.

There are indications that discussions between Picturehouse and Kim Gottlieb broke down, and with the change in management in Picturehouse, there appeared to be less interest from the cinema group in the project. When we asked Picturehouse about Lyn Goleby's planning application they said they had no knowledge of what her intentions were.

We have attempted unsuccessfully to contact Lyn Goleby and Kim Gottlieb for clarification of what is now intended for the site.

April 28, 2018

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