Plans to transform a town centre cinema which also hosted a Status Quo concert into shops and flats have been unveiled.

The former Regal complex at Market Place in Ringwood was once a music venue that staged concerts by "the Quo" and other top bands.

In 2020 campaigners formed a community interest company (CIC) in a bid to buy and restore the 156-year-old building.

But the site was bought by Ringwood-based Halo Developments in August 2023.

Daily Echo: The former Regal Cinema in 1976The former Regal Cinema in 1976 (Image: Supplied)

Now Halo has applied for permission to convert the building, which will boast two commercial units and 20 flats if the scheme is approved.

READ MORE: Campaigners unveil plan to buy and restore former Regal Cinema in Ringwood

The application says the mixed-use scheme will regenerate an under-used site by delivering new homes and high-quality commercial space that will complement the existing town centre.

It adds that new sash windows will "dramatically improve" the appearance of the building by restoring its French Classical style.

"The physical alterations to the building will better reflect its original appearance and enhance its landmark status within the streetscene."

Daily Echo: The former Regal Cinema has stood empty for several yearsThe former Regal Cinema has stood empty for several years (Image: Newsquest)

The scheme includes a commercial unit in the basement and another on the ground floor.

The rest of the ground floor, together with the upper floors, will be used for housing. Halo is planning to provide a mixture of one, two, and three-bedroom flats. A communal roof terrace is also proposed.

READ MORE: Campaign to restore and reopen former Regal Cinema at Ringwood hits impasse

The Regal ceased to be a full-time cinema in 1959 and later became a live music venue that staged concerts by Status Quo, The Troggs, and Edison Lighthouse.

Its other uses have included a nightclub and a shopping arcade, with an Italian restaurant in the basement.

Daily Echo: The former Regal Cinema is next to The Original White Hart pub in Market Place, RingwoodThe former Regal Cinema is next to The Original White Hart pub in Market Place, Ringwood (Image: Ringwood Town Council)

The 2020 scheme was devised by Jim Stride and Darren Loose, whose vision was to create a cinema and theatre complex that would also boast a restaurant and community rooms.

Ringwood residents were invited to help fund the project by buying £100 shares.

Initial estimates suggested it would cost up to £2m to acquire the old cinema, plus £2.5m to restore the building and £500,000 to make it operational.

Speaking at the time Mr Stride said: "It's going to be a hard slog but we believe we've got a really good chance."

But in August 2021 the chairman of the Ringwood Regal action group, Mike Tuck, said: “Unfortunately, we haven’t got anywhere near the money we needed.

"As far as we’re concerned, we’re still anxious to save the cinema but, to be honest, there is not a lot happening."