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Friday, 18 April 2014

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Carlisle councillors agree iconic former cinema can be demolished

THE final credits have rolled for Carlisle’s Lonsdale Cinema after city councillors agreed that the derelict 1930s art-deco building can be demolished.

ptlonshalston
Iconic eyesore: Long campaign to save the Lonsdale Cinema on Warwick Road finally failed

Once bulldozers have cleared the site in Warwick Road, it will initially become a 70-space car park.

Ultimately, the site will be redeveloped by its new owner, Burge Halston, which is turning the former Crown Post Office next door into the Halston Aparthotel.

A new three-storey building on the Lonsdale site will complement the neo-classical facade of the Halston, housing shops on the ground floor, extra hotel accommodation above and parking at the rear.

It will be joined to the Halston by a glazed link and rendered arch across Barton’s Place.

The decision to allow demolition ends any lingering hope that the Lonsdale might be reprieved.

Following its closure in 2006, the Save Our Lonsdale group waged a high-profile campaign to retain the building as a theatre and arts centre.

A protest march brought hundreds onto the streets and Save Our Lonsdale even fielded 11 candidates in the Carlisle City Council elections in May 2006 – all to no avail.

Planning officers told the development control committee on Friday that most of the original features were lost during alterations in the 1970s.

The Lonsdale had now deteriorated to such a degree that it was an “eyesore” and “unviable to repair”.

Labour councillor Willie Whalen, who represents the area, said: “It really saddens me someone brought up in the fifties, sixties and seventies – the Lonsdale has wonderful memories for me.

“If the council’s finances had been better then we might have been able to buy and develop this building.

“But we have to live in the real world.

“There comes a day when it’s beyond us to save what is an iconic building.

“We should never have allowed it to get into the state it is.”

Conservative Ray Bloxham added: “The Lonsdale is on one of the main entrances to the city and it looks bad. I don’t see how we can possibly refuse permission for demolition.”

JWhittle@cngroup.co.uk

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