Residents and traders in Kings Heath are delighted after plans to convert a historic cinema into a 700-seat restaurant and wedding banquet suite were thrown out by city planners.
Locals had feared gridlock to the already busy Kings Heath High Street if the plans to convert the derelict Kingsway Cinema into a Chinese restaurant were approved.
But the planning committee voted unanimously to refuse the restaurant because there is a severe lack of off street parking in the shopping centre and it would add to already lengthy traffic queues.
The plans stated that a ground floor restaurant would provide 300 covers, while conference and function room on a newly created first floor would cater for 400 guests.
Planning officer Victoria Bennett said: “This proposal would cause harm to the free and safe flow of traffic along the highway and would result in on street parking in nearby residential areas.”
Local councillor Emily Cox (Lib Dem, Moseley and Kings Heath) welcomed the decision and added that they hope to find a better viable use for the building.
She said: “There is simply no where for 300 restaurant guests to park on a High Street which is already heavily congested.
“Residents and the people who use Kings Heath shopping will be delighted the traffic will not get any worse.”
But she added that residents and councillors are keen to see the building restored and reused.
It has been suggested that a pub or music venue would not attract so many cars as there are more drinkers and less drivers.
Conservationists have also called for the art-deco cinema, designed and built by architect Horace G Bradley during the first great wave of cinema building in Britain, to be listed and protected.
It was, in March this year, added to the city council’s top list of historically significant buildings. But this is only an advisory rating and only Government listing would protect the Kingsway from demolition or serious alteration.
The Conservation and Heritage Panel described the cinema as ‘stunning’.