Locals and film students alike were left seething on Wednesday morning (November 21) after it was revealed that Waterloo’s beloved BFI IMAX cinema is being considered for demolition… in order for another skyscraper to be built in its place on London’s Southbank.
Discussions took place on the afternoon at the Waterloo Action Centre, where the Waterloo Community Development Group, with Lambeth Council, updated their planning policy regarding eight suitable areas that skyscrapers can be built upon. According to Lambeth news blog SE1, areas that are considered ‘worthy’ for tall buildings to take their place include the IMAX, Becket House on Lambeth Palace Road and Elizabeth House.
A decision like this could make or break the livelihood of the BFI IMAX and its employees, which has stood proudly opposite Waterloo Station since it opened in May 1999.
Lambeth Council’s idea wouldn’t just affect the local community; film student at London Metropolitan University, Aidan Matthew, said that if the film institute was replaced with ‘yet another skyscraper’ in the borough, it would be like taking ‘one more thing’ from the creative youth of London.
Speaking to cinema-goers as they left the complex, many weren’t even aware that council bosses were contemplating closing down Britain’s largest cinema screen. Sharon Watson, who had just seen the new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film at the IMAX, raged, ‘why are they shutting down one of London’s best cinemas?’. ‘The more interesting places they continue closing in favour of flashy money-making offices, the less exciting central London is going to get’.
Whilst no plans are set in stone and the council aren’t likely to confirm their proposal for several months, the BFI IMAX is open for movie geeks to enjoy the best new films on the (very) big screen seven days a week – subject to showtimes.