REGENERATION plans for Maryport under the £11 million Future High Streets scheme have taken an important step forward as councillors have approved the redevelopment of an iconic former cinema.

The Carlton Cinema on Senhouse Street is set to be brought back into use, with a new lease of life as a cultural hub.

It will include a flexible event space, displays showing the creations of Cumbrian artists, workshop areas for crafts and sound studios for musicians, aspiring radio presenters and podcasters.

The neighbouring 28 Senhouse Street will be knocked down and replaced with a new main entrance to the site as well as a café, box office and artists’ displays.

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Allerdale Council’s development panel met on Tuesday to decide on a number of high profile planning applications.

And councillors were unanimous in voting to approve the redevelopment of the iconic 1830s building, hailing the project as a positive step forward for the town.

Kimberley Corrall spoke on behalf of the project team, attending the meeting to explain the plans and how it would they will benefit the community.

Councillor Malcolm Grainger said: “It’s nice to hear something positive coming out of Maryport but what’s your timescale, when will we see this coming to fruition?”

Ms Corrall said: “The Future High Streets funding needs to see this scheme delivered by April 2024, so if we get consent, we’ll be looking at a two-stage tender to appoint the contractor and we’ll be developing stage four almost straight away really.”

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Cllr Grainger proposed that members grant planning permission for the project and after being seconded by Cllr Alan Daniels, the application was unanimously approved.

Former leader of the council Alan Smith said that previous plans for the Carlton have fallen through and that he hopes this redevelopment is successful.

“Various people have tried to do something with the Carlton. It’s seen as a bit of a money pit.

Cllr Smith raised the concern that the £11 million for Maryport could be used up on the Carleton Cinema project alone.

“If, like other ventures at the Carlton, you run out of money from the Government grant, where would you find the subsequent funding to finish the job off?”

Ms Corrall said: “We’ve gone through a series of value engineering already as part of this scheme to pull together the proposal that you see in front of you.

“That has been done by a QS (quantity surveyor) that’s been reviewed by Allerdale.”

She said that there are “significant funds” to deliver the scheme.

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