Emerging ideas for the former Mecca Bingo site

High streets up and down the country are facing challenging times due to online shopping and the changing way town centre are being used. This means they need to reinvent themselves and what they offer to residents and visitors.

The Council is looking to regenerate the town centre so that:

  • it is an attractive and safe place to live and visit, where people feel welcome and have a sense of community and belonging
  • it offers unique and fun experiences for everyone to enjoy in the daytime, evening and at night
  • it is a thriving place that is accessible, easy to navigate and well managed.

The former Mecca/Odeon site and the adjacent Vicarage Lane car park presents a unique opportunity to drive forward these objectives which could bring more people to the town centre and provide better facilities for residents.

Proposals by Ash Sakula architects - Odeon Walk and Odeon Square              View of proposed Odeon Square and Odeon Walk by Ash Sakula architects

The Council is aware of the interest many local people have expressed in having a theatre, however the potential cost of converting this building added to the fact that former cinemas do not tend to make good theatres, has led us to look at other potential uses for this space.

The emerging proposals for the site by architects Ash Sakula involves:

  • the part-demolition of the main bingo hall to reveal the view to the iconic St Mary’s Church
  • retention of the lower high street frontage with the creation of a small new indoor performance space upstairs
  • the creation of a pleasant pedestrian route through the site and a new outdoor performance area/square
  • some residential development and the creation of studio workspaces.

Any loss of parking spaces at Vicarage Lane car park would be offset by the proposals to build a multi-storey car park behind the bowling alley on Station Road.

View of Vicarage Field - proposals by Ash Sakula architects              New pedestrian routes - proposal by Ash Sakula architects

View the current proposals

To view the current proposals in more detail, please click on the following links which will open as pdf files. Alternatively, you can visit the Ashford Gateway Plus where they will be on display until Friday 1 March.

New public square and focal point

Public realm and improved access

Vicarage Lane car park & Vicarage Field

The Council believes the proposed development could help to rejuvenate the town centre, enhance our cultural offer, create employment opportunities and attract inward investment for the benefit of residents.

View the video

A short video has also been produced in order for everyone to try and visualise the current proposals. Click on the image below to access this:

Current proposals for the former Mecca/Odeon site

We’d love to hear your views

Please let us know your thoughts on the emerging proposals by completing our online survey OR by filling out a hard copy of our feedback form and emailing it back to us via tellusyourviews@ashford.gov.uk or by printing it out and popping it into the collection boxes situated within the Ashford Gateway Plus or Civic Centre reception.

Please complete any feedback before Friday 1 March.

All information that you give us will be treated in the strictest confidence and will be stored securely by Ashford Borough Council (ABC). The information you will provide will only be used for analysis purposes to help us understand the views of people by different locations and demographic groups. ABC is the data controller for the information you provide us in this form. Your information will be used to improve the services offered by ABC and for other research purposes, relying on the public interest legal basis. ABC’s Data Protection Officer can be contracted at FOI@ashford.gov.uk should you have any questions about how your data is handled.