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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Demolition of Carlisle's Lonsdale moves closer

Bulldozers could be poised to flatten Carlisle’s former Lonsdale Cinema with councillors recommended to approve it next week.

History: Sold at auction

They are being told they should allow luxury apartments to be built in the derelict building’s place as part of the neighbouring Halston hotel, creating a complex which could accommodate 400 people.

Proposals will go before Carlisle City Council’s development control panel on Friday.

Each, planning officials say, will make a “positive contribution to the character and appearance” of the area.

A report starkly sets out the deteriorating state of the building and that demolition is the only financially viable option for its future.

Councillors will be told there are some who still think the 1930s art-deco structure should be saved because of its importance, arguing it could be used to stage large theatrical performances and film screenings.

But case officer Richard Maunsell states in his report: “There is little worthy of preservation other than the memories and historical part that the building has played in the city’s history.”

Businessmen Simon Harrison and Robin Graham, who are developing The Halston in the neighbouring former post office building, were worried that the Lonsdale, as it stood, would be a blight on their business.

They bought the building at an auction in October and say it is beyond repair. The Carlisle-based entrepreneurs want the eyesore to be cleared and turned into an asset for their enterprise.

Their claims are backed up by the council report, which adds: “The building has been redundant following the closure in 2006.

“Since that time it has been subject of abandonment, neglect and fire damage.

“The building is in a perilous condition. Demolition would allow the removal of the building and will enhance the character and setting of the conservation area and the refurbished former post office building.”

Although the main facade of the Lonsdale, on to Warwick Road, retains some of the building’s original 1930s art-deco features and influences, most of the original internal features have been lost though refurbishment work.

The building that would replace it would be three storeys high, have shop space on the floor with the apartments above. It would be linked to The Halston by a glazed first-floor walkway.

Councillors will consider two planning applications

One is for the demolition of the Lonsdale and a change of use for the site to be used as a car park for customers of The Halston, contract clients and the public. The second is for the replacement, with car parking to the rear.

Creation of the car park would be the first phase of redevelopment, with the new building expected to follow within five years.


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