Bo’ness HLF Townscape Heritage Initiative

November 20, 2014
Posted in Blue Sky
November 20, 2014 Admin

Bo’ness HLF Townscape Heritage Initiative

Early 2002 Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) invited a number of companies to respond to their brief to find a use for the former Hippodrome Cinema. The agreement made provision for the refurbished building to be transferred or leased to the creators of the preferred scheme on favourable terms in return for their speculative consultancy.

The golden age of cinema

A concept to restore the cinema back to its former use and the creation of a community space was proposed by Ideas, the Falkirk-based design firm proposed to SHBT by Scottish Enterprise. In the preceding years Ideas had worked extensively for SE on a large number of creative projects including masterplanning visitor attractions. Surprisingly, the preferred option for the building was a Gym, however, SHBT requested that they retain an option to revisit the Ideas proposals.
Bo'ness brochure 2

HLF Townscape Heritage Initiative

The harbour, foreshore area and other key areas of Bo’ness had lain derelict for many years, it was considered that these offered investment opportunities that could benefit the whole town – the aim of the THI was to repair and restore historic buildings. Among the architecturally important buildings in Bo’ness town centre, the Hippodrome cinema was to offer perhaps the most significant of these opportunities.
A sustainable use for the Hippodrome was considered critical, pivotal to HLF funding. The Ideas proposal was revived and considered worthy of the task. A significant part of the (THI) application was the ‘Bo’ness masterplan opportunity overview document’ designed and produced by and importantly, their detailed development plan for the Hippodrome. Ideas also introduced the project to a potential overseas investor/developer. Part of the strategy was to create a distinctive Bo’ness brand to help ensure buy-in from all decision makers and key influencers.
Bo'ness brochure 1
The Falkirk Council initiated HLF Townscape Heritage Initiative for Bo’ness was successful. Benefiting from a £5 million investment the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) was intended to help the town’s economic regeneration.
The cinema underwent renovation from the middle of 2006. The work was largely completed on 14 February 2008 when the keys were handed over to its new owner, Falkirk Council. The renovation then went through a final phase when modern cinema projection and sound equipment were added. On 9 April 2009, the cinema finally opened its doors again to the public.
The Hippodrome was reopened in April 2009.
On 1 July 2011, Falkirk Community Trust assumed responsibility for the management and operation of the Bo’ness Hippodrome.
In 2014, VisitScotland gave the venue a four star rating, indicating “an excellent standard”.