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Music venue, multi-screen cinema, indoor market, medical centre or even an indoor fishing lake! Readers have their say on what up-for-sale Spalding bingo hall should become

News that a former cinema and bingo hall is up for sale has sparked a debate about what the site should be converted into.

The eyecatching Regent Bingo building on Spalding’s Westlode Street is on the market for approximately £400,000.

The building has been closed since the Covid pandemic in 2020 while a fire the following year means whoever takes on the site will have some repair work to do.

The Regent Bingo site in Spalding is on the market
The Regent Bingo site in Spalding is on the market

However, readers have high hopes for what the site could become.

Chippy Chipperfield and Graham Doades were among those calling for a live music venue, while Spalding drum and bass DJ Summer Le Conte said the building would be ‘perfect for raves’.

There were also shouts for the site become a much-needed health hub.

Readers would love to see the site become a number of things, from live music venue to a soft play centre
Readers would love to see the site become a number of things, from live music venue to a soft play centre

Robert Lewis and Lucy Jerwood led calls for a medical centre as Julie Pickering added: “An NHS health hub comprising of doctors, dentist etc is much more practical and is needed.

“All I would ask is that we preserve this beautiful building and not knock it down and build a monstrosity, like the fate of the corn exchange (now the South Holland Centre).”

Many posters protested the area continues to cry out for things for youngsters to do.

Readers would love to see the site become a number of things, from live music venue to a soft play centre
Readers would love to see the site become a number of things, from live music venue to a soft play centre

Chelsea Anne Gardner, Dani Orr and Sam Dell all called for a soft play centre while Pauline Saunders would like to see it become a ‘youth club, centering on sports activities’.

Continuing the athletic theme, James Young-Hardy suggested a ‘multi-use venue for local sports clubs’.

Other commentors suggested the Regent site become an ‘indoor market’ (Larry Lyden), ‘roller disco’ (Daniel Burton) and a retail venue.

“I don’t think it’s big enough for a Primark but that would be a good addition to Spalding,” said Philomena McNeill.

The Lighthouse Pentecostal Church is currently battling to convert the former Coneys department store site in the Market Place into a community hub including a church, cafe, food bank and soft play area.

Some readers suggest they would be better served operating out of the Regent building.

“It's been used previously as community hubs, why not still hold bingo and social events but probably a better proposition for the church group that wants to move in town,” said Wendy Woolf.

“This is a decent size, still in town and has parking and will not take up retail premises.”

Roland Hare added: “The Lighthouse Church could go in there.

“With plenty of parking round the back, it would suit all their needs.”

But the overriding response from readers was that the building’s previous uses were exactly what the town continues to cry out for.

“Put the bingo back there. It was a fun night out, even better if you won,” said Amber McGowan.

“You had a chat and drink with your friends and the older people came a lot - it was better for them to get out and and about instead of sitting at home on their own and being lonely.

“And people had jobs there the staff knew most of the players names, a great place to go.”

Kelly Grainger agreed, adding: “Loved to go to the bingo here, now I’ve got to travel to Peterborough. Bring it back as bingo hall like it was supposed to be a couple of years ago.

Kimberley Woods said: “Make it a bingo hall again. I had some good nights out there with my parents.”

With the exception of movies screened at the South Holland Centre, residents in the district currently have to travel to Peterborough, Boston or Wisbech to go to the cinema.

But readers hope that could change.

Anthony Fell said it could be a ‘golden opportunity’ to restore the building to a cinema and theatre.

“I’'ve got a good idea... let's turn it into a cinema. There ain't any in Spalding,” said Alan Richards.

Trevor Hargrave appeared to be combing two of his passions when he called for it to become an ‘IMAX cinema with a bar selling real ale’.

“Restore it back to its former glory and make it affordable for everyone to use as a cinema and bingo hall,” said Clair Manchego, another hoping the site could go back to the future.

Of course, the news also saw a few jokes cracked.

“Let’s have another gym. Can’t see why we can’t,” wrote Grant McGill, cocking a snook at the neighbouring CarpetRight building which is set to become a 24-hour gym.

Paul Fairbrass raised a laugh by suggesting the site become an ‘indoor fishing lake’ while Adrian Booth joked - we hope - the site become a ‘strip club’.

Ian Fowler felt there room for a second ‘Wetherspoons pub’ in Spalding.

In what appeared to be a dig at plans to build a three-storey 88-bed care home on Churchgate at the former Bull & Monkie site, Chris Lewis added that ‘Spalding needs more care homes’.

For others, retaining the building’s iconic visage is the most important thing.

“It would be nice to restore the building frontage to its an art deco prime,” wrote John Bland, chairman of Spalding Civic Society.

“It is a building that lends itself to being used as an entertainment venue. With a view to the future, perhaps it could be flexible enough to have multiple uses?”

Paul Limb agreed the ‘awesome’ architecture must be saved while Sue Scott believes there is another priority ahead of redevelopment.

“It should be listed first,” she said. “These lovely art deco buildings have all but disappeared from the country.”

However, Lainey Larkin offered some hope, adding: “One close to where I live now has been turned into apartments, keeping the art deco style.”

The Regent building opened as a Savoy cinema in June 1937 and was converted to a bingo club in 1970, undergoing a £200,000 facelift in 2018

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