Storm over new cinema signs

THE rebranding of Storm Cinema in Portlaoise almost ran into troubled waters recently, as Laois County Council objected to the proposed new signs to be installed transforming the cinema into an Odeon.

THE rebranding of Storm Cinema in Portlaoise almost ran into troubled waters recently, as Laois County Council objected to the proposed new signs to be installed transforming the cinema into an Odeon.

First Class Productions Ltd, based in Manchester, applied to the council to replace two Storm Cinema signs with three Odeon ones, at the building located on the town’s Church Street. The signs will be 4.1m in length with stainless steel lettering and blue LED lighting installed behind. There is also a proposed ‘Fanatical About Film’ sign, not illuminated.

The council pointed out, however, that the site is within the architectural conservation area of Portlaoise, as set out by County Development Plan 2001 - 2017. As the cinema is located west of St Peter’s Church of Ireland, it was felt that the proposed development would be visually obtrusive. The council also felt that only late opening premises, such as bars and restaurants, should require additional illumination.

In response, Brock McClure Planning and Development Consultants pointed out that there are nine UCI Storm cinemas in Ireland and the process of rebranding started in early 2012 has been completed at many locations. The consultants felt that the new signs would have no impact on the architectural conservation area as the cinema is removed from the curtilage of the church. It was also pointed out that the building was constructed in the last ten years as part of a site comprising car parking and a hotel and the building does not have any special interest.

“Odeon is an iconic cinema brand and it is crucial to the ongoing visibility of each cinema that the signage reflects the new operation,” the developer said. “The proposed signage is an important part of a modern, successful cinema chain”.

The council has now given conditional approval for the new signs to be installed.