THE landmark former Ayr Playhouse has been put on the market for sale or lease as a development opportunity.

Shepherd Chartered Surveyors is marketing the art deco, category-B-listed former cinema which dates back to the 1930s and was used until March this year by Mecca as a bingo hall.

Offers over £400,000 or rent offers over £60,000 per annum are being invited. The building is owned by Manchester-based Kingscrown Land & Commercial.

Shepherd said: “The layout is typical for a building of its time with the main auditorium taking up the majority of the floor space, running to the full height, with much of the original character retained.

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A spokesman for Shepherd said the Mecca bingo hall had been closed “despite the landlord’s best efforts to allow the tenants to continue trading” at the site.

He added: “The building is suited to continued leisure use or a range of other uses subject to planning.”

The building stopped operating as a cinema in the 1960s.

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It was described as “one of the last and best-surviving” creations of architect John Fairweather when it was sold at auction by investment property auctioneer Acuitus for £432,500 in summer 2021.

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The property is on the site of the former Boswell Park roller-skating rink, which was established in 1911. This was converted by George Green in 1914 into the 2,000-seat Boswell Park Pavilion Cinema, which was demolished after the First World War.

A new cinema with a capacity of 1,700 named the Playhouse was built for George Green in 1923 by Mr Fairweather but it was destroyed by fire. Mr Fairweather then designed the Ayr Playhouse, the current building. The venue opened on July 8, 1931, and, with 3,104 seats, was the third-largest cinema to be built in Scotland.

Acuitus said in summer 2021 that the “only other cinema of this scale to survive in Scotland is Fairweather’s Edinburgh Playhouse”.

Shepherd noted the 31,000 sq ft property is in a prominent position on the south side of Boswell Park, between its junctions with Sandgate and Douglas Street, “set amongst a variety of licensed, leisure and retail users”.

It added: “Accommodation comprises foyer and vestibule, main auditorium, bar servery, cellarage/stores, kitchen/prep area, staff office, WC facilities on the ground floor and, on the upper floor, circle, upper circle, viewing boxes, offices, staff rooms and projection room.”

Shepherd partner Kevin Bell said: “The property has Class 11 [assembly and leisure] consent but is suited to a variety of uses subject to planning. Interested parties should make their own enquiries with South Ayrshire Council.

“Our clients will consider offers subject to planning, although clean offers are preferred. Interested parties are advised to formally note interest as a closing date may be set.”