HELLO and welcome to the AM Business Briefing, as plans to partly demolish a former art deco cinema to create homes are to go before councillors.

The proposal is for the substantial demolition of the C-listed building and redevelopment to form 21 homes at the former George Cinema in Bath Street in Portobello.

The applicants are described as local businessmen and “lifelong inhabitants of Portobello”.

The new owners said in a statement: “This planning and listed building consent application represents a transparent and honest attempt to salvage and improve the best remaining parts of this long time neglected and abused former art deco cinema.

“It is a fact that the building which exists today bears little resemblance to the first design."


The statement continued: “The proposed change of use of the building will generate much needed income to assist funding of the retention of the principal external elements of the art deco composition all to the benefit of the local townscape and the enjoyment of the general public.

“It is regretful that this part conservation proposal cannot be supported without the replacement of the auditorium. The prevalence of deleterious materials and the limited life expectancy of the envelope of this part of the building render it beyond consideration for retention.

"However, an undertaking would be given by the new owners to consult with the planning officers to conserve worthy and salvageable elements from the original interior in the design of the new public entrance hall which in itself would be visible from the public thoroughfare.

“The new owners hope that their genuine efforts to part conserve and part improve this tired iconic local landmark will be recognised through the grant of a consent."

Also earlier known as the County Cinema, the latest application involves removing the entire rear auditorium. An earlier application to create homes at the site was refused. 

The application is due before the development management sub-committee on Wednesday, and is recommended for refusal.

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