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Coming soon! A new look for Carlisle's eyesore Lonsdale cinema

An eyesore building is going to be used to champion the best of Carlisle.

Lonsdale cinema photo
The former Lonsdale cinema in Carlisle

The former Lonsdale Cinema on Warwick Road has been falling into an increasing state of disrepair since its closure in 2006.

People have complained the art deco 1920s building is a poor advert to greet people travelling into the city centre.

But Carlisle City Council is taking action to help tidy the building up. It has been in talks with its owners, Urban & Rural Estates, and those of the neighbouring former Post Office building to try and improve the building’s frontage.

Planning permission was given this week for a hoarding featuring iconic images of Carlisle, including the castle and cathedral, to promote some of the area’s positives.

The 3.2m high and 12.5m wide design is to be installed soon. The sign boxes and boards at the front of the building will be removed.

City council deputy leader Colin Glover said: “The building lies at one of the entrance areas to the city centre and is not in keeping with the adjacent businesses

“Although the building is in private ownership, we wanted to enhance the area.”

Weathered, flaking paintwork is also to be repainted on the front of the former cinema and estate agent marketing boards removed.

Meanwhile, the council will use money given to it by the Government under its Town Team initiative to improve the appearance of empty shops with attractive designs on windows. “To Let” boards will also be removed from them.

Key buildings have been identified and approaches made to the agents.

Council leaders hope deals can be struck on the basis of the Lonsdale model.

Efforts to improve the front of the Lonsdale come as work continues on turning the neighbouring Crown Post Office into a luxury ‘aparthotel’. Businessmen Simon Harrison, Phillip Rheinbach and former Carlisle Brass owner Robin Graham bought the empty building in Warwick Road last year. They have already cleaned and restored the facade.

Phase one of the planned revamp involves conversion of the upper floors into an aparthotel featuring of 17 one and two-bedroomed suites ranging from 376sq ft to 915sq ft.

Two ground-floor units will be available to lease – the original 2,000sq ft Post Office counter hall, fronting Warwick Road, and the former sorting office at the rear, which extends to nearly 11,000sq ft.

The counter hall is likely to house a bar/restaurant.

Have your say

Some of the comments on here are unbelievable! Do these people live in a coccoon? Do they not see the recession that has been going on for the last decade with government bailouts of banks etc. ? The only thing that creates regeneration is customer demand - if people likee those naysayers on here don't get out and spend money then no investor is going to develop a white elephant! The council can only go so far as they do not have the funds (Our funds) to spend ....THERE IS NO MONEY TREE!!
So wake up people, until you are prepared to buy goods and services in sufficient quantities that sustain business then it isn't going to happen. Don't blame your council, encourage and support them then perhaps we'll see a flourishing City - one of which I am still proud to live in and call home.

Posted by Reivertoo on 3 April 2013 at 08:04

I asked the Deputy Leader of Carlisle Council Colin Glover how much this was costing the taxpayer and he repeatedly ignored the question.

Does anyone know? N&S?

The council have the power to make the owner of the building not only make it safe but also of a presentable standard. Instead os using council tax money doing the work for them, at the loss of other services, why don't they use that power? For instance, it would help reduce the cost of Meals On Wheels for pensioners for a bit longer.

Posted by Anon on 3 April 2013 at 07:22

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