Bristol

Whiteladies Picture House to be reopened

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Media captionThe Whiteladies Picture House in Clifton closed its doors in November 2001

Plans to reopen a derelict Grade II listed cinema in Bristol and create five new flats in part of the building have been given the go-ahead.

The Whiteladies Picture House closed its doors in November 2001 and has remained unused since.

Over the years a number of ideas have been put forward but none have come to fruition.

The proposal by owner David Lewin will see a three-screen cinema run by the Everyman group.

Plans for new flats were also approved as was the refurbishment of an existing one.

'Destroy' heritage

The meeting of the city's development committee was told the proposal by Everyman and Mr Lewin was "financially viable" and that the residential element of the plans "essential" to fund the restoration of the auditorium.

But David Fells from the Whiteladies Picture House group, who campaigned for it be restored to its former glory, said 1,000 people had signed a petition against the flats.

He said plans for sub-dividing the building into three screens would "destroy" the picture house's heritage.

Speaking after the decision Mr Lewin said he was "highly delighted and relieved".

Last March a planning inspector turned down an appeal by Mr Lewin who then wanted to turn the building into a gym and flats.

Although this was recommended for approval, councillors turned it down which led to the planning appeal.

The former picture house is within a conservation area and has been on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register since 2003.

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