Closed marketing of crumbling listed cinema criticised

The demolition of a listed cinema in a Scottish city and construction of a block of 20 flats behind the retained façade was rejected by a reporter, unconvinced that restoration could not be secured.

The proposals involved substantial demolition of the listed building, which local plan policy allowed only in exceptional circumstances. The appellant argued that the poor condition of the building made it incapable of repair and compliant with policy.

Reviewing the evidence from both parties and his site visit, the reporter found a broad concensus that the auditorium structure was nearing the end of its useful life and required a solution to its current condition. However, he did not find the appellant had provided clear evidence to show that the building as a whole was incapable of repair.

Turning to the economic viability of repair, the reporter decided, on the balance of probabilities, that the property might not have been marketed at a price reflecting its location and condition to potential purchasers interested in restoring the building albeit the property was on the market for a for a reasonable period of time. Based on his assessment the reporter concluded the proposed redevelopment did not meet development plan policy threshold for substantial demolition and alteration of a listed building and dismissed the appeal. In a separate decision he refused listed building consent after concluding the loss of the auditorium and special interest of the building failed to meet key national policy tests in Historic Environment Scotland’s Policy Statement.

Reporter: Keith Bray; Written representations

Decision 1

Decision 2


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