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Nightclub plans dropped as developer buys empty Kingston Gala Bingo hall
The former Gala Bingo hall in Kingston has been sold to developer CNM Estates ending the prospect of another nightclub in the town.
The contract for the empty building was signed yesterday after Franco Lumba gave up on his plans to create a 2,000 capacity licensed venue in the face of opposition.
Speaking this morning, new owner Wahid Samady said: "The plans the previous owners were suggesting were opposed by the community and that is one of the reasons we stepped in.
“We want to bring together the community, the planners, various owners and stakeholders.
"This is a good site in Kingston and we feel we needed to step in to preserve it.
"The building has been derelict for a number of years so we want to bring it to vibrancy – a building used for the 21st century."
He would not confirm rumours that Mr Lumba had made a profit on the building but said he had paid a fair price.
Mr Lumba’s company bought the bingo hall back in October 2010 for a reported £1.975m.
But his plans for a Kingston Arena were opposed by residents, and thrown into turmoil after the council rejected planning permission for the club.
He was further hampered after he was charged with a string of financial offences including money laundering, as well as allegedly unlawfully ripping up the dance floor of the listed building which was a Regal Cinema.
Both cases are still to go through the courts.
CNM Estates has been involved in housing developments across Kingston including on the site of the old Red Lion pub in Tolworth and the Surbiton Plaza.
It is also trying to build a 142 bed Hilton hotel in Tolworth near the A3 roundabout.