Look out! Is that another new arthouse cinema?

Former Marine Ices building the latest site where posh screens may feature as part of a bigger development

Three screens where pizza and ice cream ruled for decades?
Three screens where pizza and ice cream ruled for decades?
The hugely positive reception to a small cinema being included in redevelopment plans for Kentish Town’s former Pizza Express/North London Poly building has clearly not gone unnoticed.

In fact, the how-could-you-refuse-it? proposal of an ‘arthouse cinema’ seems to be an increasingly popular sweetener for property companies looking to get approval for their projects. The latest of these is the application for the site where iconic local restaurant Marine Ices stood for over 80 years.

Plans about to be submitted include a three-screen cinema plus restaurant, as well as housing units above, and the promise is to serve Marine Ices once more to cinemagoers (currently the famous ice creams are available just a stone’s throw down Chalk Farm Road in the all-new parlour under the famous wisteria tree, in case you hadn’t seen).

And with another arthouse screen included in the redevelopment plans for Hawley Wharf, which get underway imminently, it seems almost fantastical to think we may soon be surrounded by picturehouses in a way not seen since the heady days of these long-lost local fleapits.


But there’s a long way to go yet. Only this week we heard concern that the Pizza Express screen may be threatened by a change in project ownership – any readers got more gossip on that to share?

And – at least in the time before the recent acquisition of the whole project by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi – some cynical locals had voiced concerns that the mooted Hawley Wharf screen was, in fact, a casino in disguise.

But with three bold new cinema projects now in the offing, you’d like to hope the cynics will be proved wrong and one day soon we’ll all be spoilt for choice as to where to watch our films in the neighbourhood.

Will we be settling down – wine in hand – into a comfy seat on Kentish Town Road? Taking in a pre-movie walk along the banks of the canal? Grabbing a tub of pistachio for a thriller opposite the Roundhouse? Or does it all sound just a little too fantastical?


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