SCOTTISH ministers have rejected an appeal to partly demolish a former art deco cinema to create homes.

The works proposed included the demolition of the auditorium and retention and partial restoration of principal exterior of elements of the art deco façade, and creating 20 flats with associated car parking and landscaping.

Edinburgh City Council’s development management sub-committee refused the application for the substantial demolition of the C-listed building and redevelopment at the former George Cinema in Bath Street in Portobello in January.

Now Tammy Swift-Adams, a reporter appointed by the Scottish ministers, has dismissed the appeal by Buckley Building UK Ltd and refused consent.

The report said: “The demolition of the auditorium would not preserve the listed building, its setting or the features of special architectural and historic interest which it possesses.

“The evidence presented does not satisfy me that their loss has been fully considered and justified.

“The proposed works to the principal elevation would also fail to preserve the listed building, its setting or the features of special architectural and historic interest which it possesses.

“The fact I have found it would preserve the character and appearance of Portobello Conservation Area does not outweigh the harm to the listed building.”

Councillors supported the recommendation for refusal from planning officials who said at the time: “The application does not demonstrate that the proposals to undertake substantial demolition will not damage the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building.”

Council officials also said in the case report: "The assessment concludes that the applicant has not sufficiently demonstrated that the building is incapable of meaningful repair and has not fully demonstrated that the potential for the building to be re-used as a cinema (or similar compatible community use) has been fully explored."

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

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