The beloved art deco landmark that has lain empty for almost eight years holds within it a "rare survival in Scotland".

Rare is the survival of streamlined interiors like that of the 1939 cinema, which has faced a bid by a developer seeking to turn it into homes to have its historic recognition withdrawn.

Buckley Building UK Ltd has had an application for works including the demolition of the former George Cinema auditorium to create 20 flats and a car park refused by the City of Edinburgh Council and an appeal to Scottish Ministers rejected.

The business has raised questions over the C-listed building’s condition and the refusal of its plans in comparison to other projects, including former cinemas and listed buildings.

Buckley Building held up examples of converted cinemas and permissions granted on a listed building in a statement.

It cited the State Cinema Great Junction Street, Edinburgh and Odeon Cinema, Ayr. "These two former cinemas have respectively received planning permission for part demolition and conversion into living accommodation, and been deemed to not meet the standard required for listing.

"Both have remarkable external physical similarities to the former George Cinema, the C-listed subject of this application, and are of the same generation."

The Herald: The interior of The George was included in Historic Environment Scotland remarksThe interior of The George was included in Historic Environment Scotland remarks (Image: Friends of The George)

The statement on behalf of Buckley Building as part of the delisting application reads: "It is respectfully submitted that the similarities with the Edinburgh and Ayr buildings are both relevant and significant. HES’ treatment of the Scottish Widows/Sir Basil Spence building (also Edinburgh - where partial demolition of A-listed offices for homes was approved by city council) provides a sound lesson for this application.

"This application for delisting of a dangerous and terminally ill building, which is now without residual value, should be granted."

However, Historic Environment Scotland found against the application by Buckley Building to have the picture house's listed status removed.

The Herald: The survival of purpose-built cinemas' interior decorative scheme is 'also increasingly rare'The survival of purpose-built cinemas' interior decorative scheme is 'also increasingly rare' (Image: Friends of The George)

It stated: "The George Cinema on Bath Street is not rare within its building type, but it is exceptional for the survival of its striking art deco/moderne design, both internally and externally.

“Its streamlined design included innovations in the use of modern materials and up-to-the-minute continental style.

"The design of this building is highly representative of the characteristic cinema building type which was epitomised by new modern architecture emerging specifically in the 1920s and 1930s. There are increasingly few purpose-built cinemas of this date and design quality and style which survive.

"The survival of its interior decorative scheme is also increasingly rare."

The Herald: The property closed as a cinema in 1974 and last served as a bingo hallThe property closed as a cinema in 1974 and last served as a bingo hall (Image: Gordon Terris)

HES also said: "Our assessment using the selection guidance shows that the building continues to meet the criteria of special architectural or historic interest. There is no statutory change to the listing designation."

Buckley Building, which owns the building, was contacted for further comment.

All the while, campaigners who have gathered under the banner of the Friends of The George have been active, and it was revealed this week that they received a boost from a 'private benefactor', but they said the offer they made for the cinema "as a restoring purchaser" declined.

They are continuing to raise funds to buy and restore the building, which is on the open market, as a community facility, and are applying for charitable status.

Another beloved landmark building, the B-listed Met Tower in Glasgow city centre, is set to reopen in winter 2025 after being vacant for a decade, following planning approval for a major transformation, business editor Ian McConnell reveals this week.

Elsewhere, jobs are at risk at the company which runs Scotland’s only gold and silver mine, reports deputy business editor Scott Wright, and business correspondent Kristy Dorsey covers the acquisition of a Glasgow wealth firm by a Canadian investment giant.