SOME of them must barely have been sat in – but 220 seats from Bournemouth’s Imax have been donated to a small theatre.

Bournemouth council says it expects to recycle 97 per cent of the town’s Waterfront building and its contents as it begins demolishing the ill-fated attraction.

It has donated 220 seats from the former giant-screen cinema to the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe.

Meanwhile, catering equipment from the Waterfront’s defunct Red Panda restaurant – where Tony Blair and his cabinet once sat down to dinner – will be donated to the community-run cafe at the same theatre.

Jon Dunne, director of Shelley Theatre, said: “These chairs will make such a difference to this small intimate theatre, and we are really grateful to Bournemouth council and in particular the local councillors who have shown continued support to get this great little venue up and running for the local community.

“We hope that we can welcome many local people to come and make use of the chairs as soon as possible.”

The Imax opened, more than two years late, in 2002 and closed for a revamp in 2005, never to re-open.

Bournemouth council bought the Waterfront building in 2010 for £6.5million and ousted the remaining businesses.

It plans to demolish the building to make way for a covered public performance venue, also called the Waterfront. It is intended as an interim use until a permanent scheme can be got off the ground.

The building is being dismantled from the inside out and should be gone by the end of March 2013.

Roger Ball, the council’s service director for technical services, said: “We are pleased that the local community can benefit from the old Imax cinema seating. It was hardly used and is in very good condition and we are glad that it can finally now be put to good use.”

The council says concrete from the Waterfront can be crushed and reused as a sub-base for new roads.

Steel and glass will also be recycled.

The authority says it will produce a chart at the end of the project, showing how the material has been re-used.

Read the history of the Imax, watch a film about its beginnings, view a 360 degree panorama of inside the cinema and learn about what's going to take its place at

  • IF the Imax had thrived, you might have sat in its seats watching The Dark Knight Rises or Skyfall on a giant screen.

Instead, you could in future sit in them to listen to Questions Under Delegated Powers or Reports from the Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Panel.

And the star will be not Daniel Craig or Christian Bale but council leader John Beesley.

Bournemouth council intends to use around 40 of the Imax seats to replace seating in the public gallery of its council chamber.

The entertainment might be slightly less thrilling, but it has been known to run longer Lord of the Rings and admission is free.