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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Demolition men move on to Carlisle's Lonsdale cinema site

It was a day of mixed emotions as demolition experts moved into Carlisle’s landmark Lonsdale Cinema.

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Going, going..... Demolition begins on the former Lonsdale building

On one hand it marked the end of an era for those with fond memories of the 1930s art-deco building, and those who had campaigned furiously to save it. Yet for others the former venue, on Warwick Road, has become an eyesore that is bringing the whole area down.

After years of uncertainty, the demolition process finally began yesterday – though it will be weeks before any external walls start coming down.

Site manager Bill Devine said initially they are working inside the building to get it stripped out and ready for demolition.

He said: “It will be a few weeks yet before people can see something happening on the outside. In total it will take three to four months.”

He added that the central location and poor condition means they have to take extra care though he said it is not dissimilar to a project they have just finished in Bury.

Following its closure in 2006, the Save Our Lonsdale group waged a high-profile campaign to retain the historic building as a theatre and arts centre. However it was not to be and the premises was finally bought at auction for £650,000 last October.

Its new owners, Burge Halston, were already renovating the former Crown Post Office building next door into the city’s first aparthotel, The Halston.

They now plan to use the Lonsdale site as a car park initially, with longer term plans for a three-storey building combining shops, extra hotel accommodation and car parking.

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