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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Action over Carlisle's eyesore Lonsdale building on the cards

Action could be imminent at the site of the former Lonsdale cinema after “very constructive” talks with the building’s owner.

Lonsdale Cinema photo
The former Lonsdale Cinema

Carlisle City Council officials have revealed that they have had recent discussions with owner Empera Estates, following calls for the dilapidated building to be tidied up and made safe.

Ward councillor Whillie Whalen said the former landmark, which closed in 2006 and has deteriorated ever since, was not a good advert for the city and could be easily broken into.

A campaign to restore it and turn it into a theatre and arts venue finally folded in August after years of protests and lobbying.

A statement from the city council said they had “very constructive discussions” with the owners of the Warwick Road building, and those of the former Post Office nearby “with a view to improving the appearance of the area.”

“The owner of the old Post Office has already invested in cleaning the frontage of that building and we are also working closely with owners of the Lonsdale to come up with solutions to improve the security and visual appearance until a longer-term solution can be found,” a spokeswoman said. She was unable to give more detail as discussions were ongoing, she said.

Mr Whalen was delighted to hear progress was being made, he said.

“I’m very pleased that negotiations seem to have had some kind of success,” he said. “I’m extremely concerned about the safety of the building, if children were to get inside. We have got to do our utmost to clean things up.”

He said he had concerns about some buildings in his ward which had fallen into disrepair in recent years as the property market stagnated, including the former nightclub at West Walls and the Plaza Hotel.

“The council was able to do some work on the hotel to make it safe,” he said. “We are in tough economic times, both as a council and [the properties owners], but we have got to work together to try and solve the problems.”

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