Demolition work has started on the former club and cinema in Amwell End, ahead of redevelopment of the site.
The redevelopment will feature new retail space and 10 homes on the upper levels. Parking for one vehicle per flat was originally proposed but a dispute with adjoining landowners meant that the plans were apoproved without any parking. The council's planning officer commented: "The lack of staff or customer parking for the commercial unit is not uncommon in town centre locations. Some harmful weight is assigned in relation to the residential uses as it is recognised that aspiration for vehicle ownership will remian. It will be necessary for demand to be acommodated within car parks and on street parking availability locally."
Despite the demolition, the street level frontage will be retained.
Planning permission was granted in July last year (2018), despite objections from Ware Town Council, who were unhappy with the appearance and height, as well as concerns about parking provision.
The cinema first opened in 1911 as the Ware Picture Hall, becoming the Astoria in 1948 following modernisation work. Following a decline in attendances the cinema closed in March 1979, reopening as a nightclub - Beckets - in October the same year. The nightclub went through a number of ownerships and names, including Club Nautica, Sky and Mantra, before finally closing in 2011.
Updated to correct information about parking provision