Bournemouth Imax cinema demolition begins

Some residents have wanted to see the building disappear for more than a decade

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The demolition of a "hated" cinema building on Bournemouth seafront has begun.

The four-storey concrete and glass Imax was built 15 years ago, but was not a commercial success.

Preparation work to dismantle the cinema, voted one of the UK's most hated buildings, and restore the sea views originally began in October.

The site will become a new outdoor events space which is expected to open in the summer.

Residents have wanted to see the cinema building disappear for more than a decade.

Watch the Imax being demolished

Former hotel worker Ron Hands said: "I'd like to feel I've done my part in this happening today.

"From 1986 I saw this building going up, it was getting higher and higher and seriously it looked awful, guests would arrive at the hotel and say 'Where's that lovely view gone?'"

The cinema screen "as high as four double-decker buses" in the building opened in 2002.

After closing for a revamp in 2005 it never reopened and one-by-one the other businesses in the complex also closed.

In 2010 the council bought the leasehold and looked at plans to lower the building, but they failed to attract a suitable developer.

'Just pathetic'

John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, said: "For years residents have been asking the council to do something about the Imax building.

"We will restore the sea view and fulfil the ambitions of residents and visitors."

Another resident said the demolition was a "day of shame for Bournemouth".

Brian Jenner, who started a "save the IMAX building" campaign on Facebook in 2010, said: "It could have been creatively transformed.

"A place where artists and students could have used the spaces, whereas it's just being destroyed.

"There are seven miles of beach line and there are 50 metres obscured, it's just pathetic."

The progress of the demolition which will see 3,000 tonnes of steel and 8,000 tonnes of concrete removed can be seen on the council's website.

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