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New plans for Shepherd's Bush Pavilion approved

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A planning application to turn the Shepherd's Bush Pavilion into a hotel has been approved.

The Pavilion, which has been empty since 2001, is being turned into a 242 bedroom hotel with two restaurants, conference rooms, a bar and a gym. The hotel is expected to create 130 jobs.

Part of the building will be demolished then rebuilt and extended, but the famous façade which won an architectural award for the best façade in London when the cinema opened in 1923, will remain. The existing curved roof will be replaced with a glass roof.

The Grade II listed building, which is on the western side of Shepherd's Bush Green, is currently in a poor state of repair with smashed windows and crumbling masonry. It is on English Heritage's 'Building at Risk' register.

There have been two previous applications to convert the former cinema and bingo hall into a hotel, and permission was granted in both 2004 and 2006. However, potential hotel operators deemed the plans "unviable" due to the overall number of bedrooms and the fact that many of them lacked natural daylight and views.

The Pavilion was originally built as the Pavilion Cinema in 1923, but was badly damaged in the Second World War. After repairs and alterations, it reopened as the Gaumont Theatre, before closing for further refurbishment in 1969. This time, a new floor was inserted to divide the space into an Odeon cinema upstairs and a Top Rank Bingo Club downstairs.

The cinema closed in 1983, but the bingo area, by now a Mecca Bingo Hall, remained in use until it eventually closed down in 2001. The building has remained largely vacant ever since, though is sometimes used for events. Despite the Pavilion's striking external appearance, very little remains of the original interior layout or design. It became a listed building in 1974.

Commenting on the plans for the Pavilion, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Hammersmith (and Shepherd's Bush), Shaun Bailey said: “This is exactly the type of activity that we need to rebuild the economy in the Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush area. I welcome any developments that provide employment for local people."

28 January 2010