New Nuneaton Ritz plan revealed for restaurant and community hall

A revised plan has been revealed for the former Ritz bingo hall in Nuneaton. The prominent building has stood empty for more than a decade, standing a derelict shadow of its former self.

It is a listed building as it famously plays home to impressive Art Deco, Neo Egyptian and Chinoiserie inspired motifs, as well as a deeply coiffured ceiling with a distinctive staircase. A new planning application has revealed that the building, fondly remembered by generations, is finally going to be brought back into use.

The proposals explain: "The Ritz has been empty for over a decade and is now in a poor state of repair. Renovation and repair is required if the building is going to survive and contribute positively to the local community.

"The building in its current state does not contribute positively to the local area as it presents derelict, blank facades on all elevations and is a target for vandals."

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Semichyong UK bought the buildiing for £339,500 on February 27, 2019, and planning proposals were given conditional approval back in 2021 for community use and a new restaurant.

The new proposals are a resubmission of that application, and it explains: "Our client proposes to bring the whole building back into use by both the Nepalese Community and the local community as a whole. In doing this they will repair the fabric of the building and create an asset to the community for years to come."

The application seeks the following:

  • Renovation of the external facades including replacement of existing windows

  • Renovation of the interior of the building

  • Change of use from bingo hall (E) to mixed use, including a restaurant, community hall (for private functions including social events, film showings, theatre productions, speeches and presentations), prayer / yoga / meditation space,conference facilities

  • small residential flat for occasional use by visiting speakers / teachers

What do the plans entail?

The application states that the plans aim to reduce the impact of the work on the listed building. But it states that, in order to make the building 'fit for purpose' there are some internal changes needed.

It says that, in the majority of cases, the walls to be removed are stud walls that were added when the building was converted into a bingo hall. "Where we intend to remove sections of wall in areas with decorative ceiling, such as the proposed restaurant area, the walls will only be removed up to doorhead height," the proposal explains, adding that this will ensure the ceiling remains intact.

All new walls will be lightweight stud work with acoustic insulation where required. In the auditorium, the height of the stage will be reduced to 1m above the auditorium floor level. This involves removing the existing high level stage with bar under, which was installed as part of the bingo hall conversion.

What the old Ritz will look like
Old Ritz building in Nuneaton.

The new stage will be approximately 250mm lower than the original stage height. "The most significant work to the interior is at the balcony level where we propose to level the tiers to create useable rooms," the application explains.

"In order to achieve this we propose to bring the levels up with light weight timber / steel construction. The existing tiers will be retained and the new structure will sit on top of them. The existing structure has been checked by a structural engineer who has confirmed that this will be possible but we will work with them at detail design stage to develop details with minimal impact on the existing building"

It goes on to add that the works will be phased with the restaurant and main auditorium completed first. This is so that income can be generated to fund the work to the rest of the building.

The plan is now being looked at by officers at the Town Hall. As part of this, public consultation is being held.

The application and all of the documents can be viewed on the council's website, under the planning applications section, searching for reference number 040314.

Consultation will run until June 25 and the target decision date is July 29.

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