Category Archives: News

University Challenging?

It seems that Trafford Council have their sites on Stretford for student housing with the Essoldo building front and centre as part of the new masterplan. It will be interesting to see how that would happen. The following text is taken directly from the updated Stretford Masterplan which you can read in full here. Views below are those of the author of the masterplan.


“The Grade II listed Essoldo Cinema has been vacant since 1995. The Council has  proactively engaged with the owner of the building over several years in order to bring the building back into active use. Whilst a number of proposals have been explored with the owner, to date these have not come to fruition and the building remains vacant.

Essoldo plan

There is a specific opportunity to bring the former Essoldo back into active use as part of the UA92 student campus. New development of low scale buildings could be provided sensitively around the Essoldo building to provide a mixture of student residential types within single sided buildings, mews and townhouses. The former Essoldo building itself will provide opportunities for the provision of student amenities and other uses accessible to the whole community, including the potential for a relocated and significantly enhanced library facility.

The provision of new development will protect and enhance the original entrances to the Essoldo and effectively screen the buildings blank elevations. There is potential to create a shared surface at the north side of the Essoldo with front doors from low rise town house student accommodation to activate this area. A new pedestrian link would be provided through to the canal opening up access to this important asset.

The effective reuse of the former Essoldo and development of the adjoining land and buildings will bring a long term vacant landmark building back into active use, secure the future of this listed building and help to strengthen the linkage between the Stretford Metrolink stop and the Town Centre whilst improving access to the Bridgewater Canal and taking full advantage of the proximity to this waterside setting.

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Standing still

Thanks to Facebook reader Andrew for this photo spotting a rare moment where work is captured. No matter where or what’s going on around the circumstances of this building, somebody is at least keeping it standing (empty).

Happy(ish) 80th Birthday

It’s now 80 years since the building opened and 50 YEARS since the last film was screened! It’s also be 21 years since the general population of Stretford were last allowed to step inside and 19 years since it was purchased by the current owners. That’s quite a set of anniversaries! 

Whilst this website has been tracking the life and times of this pickled building for nearly 1/8th of its existence now (10 years!) there’s not ever been much to report. If you really want to get your cinema geek on however and feel the force of like minded people across the U.K., you’d do well to get yourself a membership of the Cinema Theate Association. 

Compulsory Purchase Order Petition

There’s a petition doing the rounds online to have Trafford Council issue a CPO on the owner. Take a look at the petition and the reasoning behind it here

Time stands still…still…in numbers

In 12 months it will be 80 years since the building opened and 50 YEARS since the last film was screened! It will also be 21 years since the general population of Stretford were last allowed to step inside and 19 years since it was purchased by the current owners. To date there is still no clear picture of what happens next.

Stretford Masterplan – The Essoldo bits

Listed here are the Essoldo Stretford highlights from the lastest draft of the Stretford Masterplan (January 2014). If you want to read about the bigger picture for the whole area, you can do so here.

Summary – Essoldo Cinema

The Grade II listed Essoldo Cinema building, designed in the art deco style, is an important heritage asset for Stretford Town Centre. Its distinctive frontage and location at a gateway into the town centre makes it a key landmark building. Originally known as the Longford Theatre, the building opened in 1936 and was renamed the Essoldo in 1950. From the mid1960s the building was used as a bingo hall until its closure in 1995. It is currently in private ownership and has remained vacant for over 15 years providing an unattractive frontage.

Objectives –

To promote the refurbishment, enhancement and reuse of historic buildings such as the Essoldo Cinema and Stretford Public Hall. The SPD identifies opportunity areas including Chester Road, Stretford, which are in need of improvement either through cleaning, landscaping or redevelopment. The Essoldo Cinema is identified as one of the major opportunity sites for intervention.

Historic buildings –

The Masterplan area contains three Grade II listed buildings, namely, Stretford Public Hall, the Essoldo Cinema, and St Matthew’s Church. The former Post Office building on King Street and Stretford library on Kingsway, whilst not listed, are buildings of historic interest and provide a link to Stretford’s past. These buildings provide a valuable contribution to Stretford’s indentity and character. It will be important to ensure these are preserved and enhanced in the delivery of the Masterplan.

Site 4: Essoldo Cinema

The Grade II listed Essoldo Cinema has been vacant since 1995. Repairs have recentlybeen made to the external fabric of the building. There is potential to create a new entertainment / leisure facility at this location contributing to the development of the evening economy and providing family orientated activities within the town centre.

Restoration of the Essoldo Cinema could link more effectively with the parade of shops, office units and residential uses on Edge Lane immediately to the south of the building and with the Bridgewater Canal to the rear of the site.

The restoration of the Grade II listed Essoldo Cinema building would provide the opportunity for a large scale family friendly entertainment facility within Stretford Town Centre. This would support the development of the evening economy and also encourage families to use the town centre for leisure uses. Restaurant / café / bar facilities could also be provided as part of the Essoldo site. Works to the rear of the site would improve access to the Bridgewater Canal and take advantage of proximity to this waterside setting.

Funding & Delivery –

The delivery of the Masterplan will be dependent on effective partnership working. As part of the new governance structure described above collaborative working with the community, businesses, landowners, developers, investors, retailers and residents will deliver the revitalisation of Stretford Town Centre.

Key action points – 2014 to 2018

Engagement will be undertaken with the owner of the Essoldo Cinema to progress proposals to bring this site back into active use.

Just over the road lurks another landmark in distress!

Just over the road is another building that needs some care to ensure its survival. Checkout the Friends of Stretford Public Halls Facebook group including an album from their recent tour of the building. At least they get to look inside their building! 😦

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