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Snodland's old Wardona cinema could be turned into flats

One of Snodland's most familiar and recognisable buildings could be demolished - and then partially rebuilt.

The old cinema site at 4 High Street is the subject of a planning application to Tonbridge and Malling Council.

The Wardona cinema in Snodland as the Savoy Snooker Club
The Wardona cinema in Snodland as the Savoy Snooker Club

The applicant wants to pull down the cinema building and redevelop the site to produce 14 apartments, four being two-bedroom, and 10 one-bed flats.

But acknowledging the art deco frontage of the building is a treasured landmark within the Snodland Conservation Area, the applicant is offering to rebuild the facade to the same proportions and the same look, but using modern materials, and also to recreate the cinema's original signage and canopy, and chequerboard-patterned entry steps.

The cinema opened as the Wardona on March 21, 1938. It's first film featured Shirley Temple in Wee Willie Winkee.

The cinema had 650 seats on a single level.

The Wardona Cinema in Snodland around 1938
The Wardona Cinema in Snodland around 1938

In the late-1950s, it was re-named the Savoy Cinema, but closed in 1963 when it was converted to a bingo club.

More recently it became the Savoy Snooker Club and in 2016, it was converted to a china and crockery shop named China Chaps.

That shop at the front has now closes, but an associated warehouse behind is still operating.

There is a separate flat on the first floor of the building.

Planning application 21/00864 refers.

Snodland has already lost one historic cinema to housing. The Snodland Picture Palace in Holborough Road, which opened in 1912 and ended its life as Roman Catholic Church, was demolished for housing 2007.

KentOnline would be interested to hear anyone's memories of watching a movie at The Wardona or The Savoy. Please email ajsmith@thekmgroup.co.uk with your story.

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