A NEW cinema complex is coming to Crystal Palace following a 50-year absence, after Amphlett Lissimore backed a campaign run by the local community.

Managing Partner Frank Lissimore was chairman of the area’s chamber of commerce when the initiative began – and immediately offered the practice’s services.

Frank and the team gave legal advice throughout the eight-year mission as residents and businesses rallied together to restore the former bingo hall back to a cinema.

Members of the community then formed the Picture Palace Campaign in June 2009, and contacted politicians, businesses and residents for support.

Frank said: “We work closely with a number of community projects and it was clear people were passionate about bringing the cinema back to Crystal Palace.

“I was chairman of Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce when the campaign to save the cinema began and we were keen to help.

“We offered our legal services and after a long campaign it’s paid off.”

Frank added: “Having a cinema in Crystal Palace will be a great boost for the area.”

Everyman, which runs 22 cinemas across England, has provisionally exchanged contracts to operate picture house, in Church Road.

The building owners Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) had wanted to convert the property into a church but Bromley Council blocked their plans in February last year.

The KICC then disposed of its freehold of the property, allowing the Picture Palace Campaign to submit a bid to turn it into a professionally-run cinema.

Everyman said it will create a four-screen cinema inside the venue but has not announced an official opening date.

Chair of the Picture Palace Campaign Annabel Sidney said: “It’s really exciting – this is the news we have long been campaigning and hoping for.

“We’ve always been optimistic about bringing a cinema back to Crystal Palace for the first time in more than 50 years.

“It has been a cast of thousands and we absolutely couldn’t have done it without the help of everyone who has supported us and has been involved in the campaign over the past eight years.”

Everyman's cinemas all have comfortable sofas in their screens, and come with cushions and side-tables for hot food, drinks and snacks.

Everyman CEO Crispin Lilley said: “It's very much about a hospitality-led experience from start to finish.

“It really is about a full night out that people will really enjoy.”

The building was used as a cinema for 40 years before it closed in 1968.