44 New Homes to be Built at Former La Scala Cinema Site

In March 2016, Clydebank Housing Association (CHA) has commenced a £5.1m design and build contract in partnership with AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd at the site of the former La Scala Cinema on Graham Avenue, Clydebank.

With funding of £3.168m from the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Programme, together with private finance, we plan to build 20 one bedroom flats, 20 two bedroom flats and 4 two bedroom wheelchair adapted homes.  The new homes will be extremely energy efficient and will meet the Scottish Government’s Greener Homes Standard and West Dunbartonshire Council’s silver standard.
Having lain derelict for a decade, the former cinema had started deteriorating badly internally with significant water ingress and vermin infestation and therefore the new flats will bring a new lease of life to a site once home to the La Scala Cinema, one of Clydebank’s most iconic buildings for many years.

In its heyday, La Scala, which opened its doors on 14 February 1938, drew crowds of more than 2,000 to hit movies such as “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Adventures of Robin Hood”.  The Saturday club for youngsters, “ABC Minors”, was particularly popular. 

The prominent building on the Clydebank skyline surprisingly survived the Clydebank Blitz in March 1941 when only 7 of 12,000 Clydebank homes were undamaged.  After a short closure following the Blitz, and again in the 50’s for refurbishment into a part cinema/part bingo club, the curtains finally closed on the cinema in 1983, which went out on a high with the sell-out movie E.T., as it bowed to the age of Internet and DVDs.  The venue continued as a bingo club and later a snooker hall too until 2006.

Tom McCormack, Chairperson, said “I like hundreds of ‘Bankies’ grew up with the La Scala.  As a child, I remember going to the ABC Minors on a Saturday Morning.  I was one of the many that went to the La Scala on its final week to see E.T. with my daughters.  Although the building holds many good memories for me and my family, it will be great to watch what is now a derelict eyesore on the site be replaced by 44 much needed affordable homes to rent.”

Sharon Keenan, Chief Executive, said “With over 700 applicants currently on our housing list, these homes will be a welcome addition to our stock.  We are sure our proposals will complement the Council’s ongoing regeneration of the surrounding area for the benefit of the community and we are thankful to both West Dunbartonshire Council and the Scottish Government for their commitment to funding the development.”

Paul Kelly, Managing Director of AS Homes said, “We are working with Clydebank Housing Association to provide their tenants with quality, modern and energy efficient homes.  The build process will also support the local supply chain and provide employment and training opportunities for the wider community.”