Cinema loss blocked to preserve local scene

The demolition of an unlisted cinema in an East Sussex conservation area and its replacement with a ground-floor shop and flats above has been ruled out due to its historic importance to local residents.

Although English Heritage had decided not to list the inter-war cinema, the inspector decided that this did not mean it had no significance. Local residents placed substantial weight on its cultural and social value and there was an active campaign to reopen it, she noted. In her view, the cinema made a positive contribution to the conservation area's character and sense of place.

In contrast, she found the information provided on the replacement building sketchy and barely sufficient to establish its impact on the street scene. She was concerned that the plans paid little regard to the context and scale of neighbouring buildings and were not of sufficiently high quality. In the absence of convincing evidence that it was unviable to reuse the cinema for its original or some other purpose, she dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Mary O'Rourke; Written representations

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