Bid to demolish historic art deco cinema rejected by councillors

Property developer planned to demolish and redevelop the former George/County Cinema in Edinburgh to build 21 homes.

Bid to demolish historic art deco cinema rejected by councillors © Google Maps 2022
An application has been refused to build new homes in Portobello, Edinburgh.

Edinburgh council officials have refused an application to partly demolish and redevelop a former art deco cinema to make way for new homes.

A bid was lodged by architecture practice Gilberts, on behalf of Buckley Builders, to turn the art deco building site in Portobello into flats, while maintaining the “unique style and character of the cinema”.

Following a review by the council’s Development Management committee, concerns were raised that works would “damage the special architecture and historical interest” of the former cinema.

Council officials said: “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.”

Advertisement

Developers Buckley Builders responded to the refusal, stating that the redevelopment would be an attempt to salvage the site, adding that the building has been “neglected and abused” as a former cinema.

They said: “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 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.”

More on