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Hoarding put up at Mecca Bingo in Ashford to stop vandals climbing onto roof

A town centre landmark has been cordoned off to stop vandals climbing onto the roof.

Council bosses have erected a large hoarding outside the former Mecca Bingo building in Ashford.

It follows reports of people being spotted on the roof of the site, which was bought by Ashford Borough Council last year.

A hoarding has been erected around Mecca Bingo
A hoarding has been erected around Mecca Bingo

Bosses want to knock most of the building down to create a multi-million pound leisure complex on the Vicarage Lane car park.

Authority chiefs hope to partially demolish the ex-Odeon, flattening the rear of the property and knocking through the former entrance in the Lower High Street to make a pedestrian route leading to a new public square on the car park.

The space - nicknamed Odeon Square - is set to feature a large outdoor cinema screen surrounded by cafes and bars.

Ashford Borough Council's plan for the site
Ashford Borough Council's plan for the site

Bosses say bulldozing the rear of the landmark 1930s building will open up views of St Mary's Church.

Despite looking to knock through the former cinema entrance, chiefs plan to retain most of the frontage, creating an indoor performance space in the former ballroom on the first floor above the former foyer.

They say the loss of parking spaces in Vicarage Lane car park will be offset by plans to build a multi-storey car park behind the bowling alley in Station Road.

How the redevelopment could look with the Mecca Bingo frontage in the foreground
How the redevelopment could look with the Mecca Bingo frontage in the foreground
The former Mecca Bingo building
The former Mecca Bingo building
Anti-climb paint has been used on the hoarding
Anti-climb paint has been used on the hoarding

A council spokesman said work on the Mecca Bingo project is progressing.

He said: "Following the public consultation earlier in the year and cabinet approval in March, officers have been working on the proposals and we should have an update in due course."

For months, campaigners have called on the council to convert the Mecca building into a theatre, with a petition gaining thousands of signatures.

The hoarding in the alleyway near Vicarage Lane car park
The hoarding in the alleyway near Vicarage Lane car park

The hoarding has been erected in the St John's Lane alleyway leading to the Vicarage Lane car park.

The alleyway is still open.

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