Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Wednesday, 3 June 2009 16:09 UK

Cinema's fate in ministers' hands

Odeon cinema on Clerk Street
The Odeon cinema on Clerk Street has been vacant since 2003

Scottish ministers have been asked to decide on the fate of an historic cinema in Edinburgh.

Proposals to demolish the auditorium of the Odeon cinema in Clerk Street, which were passed by Edinburgh City Council, will now be looked at by ministers.

It follows a report commissioned by Historic Scotland which said demolition of the listed site was "not justified".

Owner, Duddingston House Properties, is now to decide whether to take it to a public inquiry or written submission.

Historic Scotland could have sent the planning application back to Edinburgh City Council if it did not have any concerns over its decision.

However, the historic body chose instead to call-in the application for a decision by Scottish ministers.

The Category B-listed art deco building is a purpose-built cinema, which opened in 1930 and continued to show movies until its closure in 2003.

It has remained vacant since.

Duddingston House Properties submitted a planning application last year to Edinburgh City Council to demolish the auditorium to make way for a new art hotel.

I am delighted that the old Odeon now has a stay of execution
Shirley-Anne Somerville
Nationalist Lothians MSP

The application was granted consent by Edinburgh City council's development management sub-committee on 29 October 2008, subject to a number of conditions including the decision being referred to Historic Scotland.

Culture Minister Michael Russell, said: "The application concerning the Odeon on Clerk Street has attracted a lot of attention, from both those who would like to see its auditorium retained and those who believe it should be adapted for a new use.

"This is a complex case and it is important that all aspects of the application are fully and independently considered to determine the best way forward.

"A wide range of factors will have to be taken into account, including the current economic climate, but I am sure we can resolve the matter as quickly as possible, without compromising the scrutiny that these applications deserve."

Nationalist Lothians MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: "I am delighted that the old Odeon now has a stay of execution.

"Historic Scotland and the Scottish Government have recognised the national importance of this building, probably the best preserved example of 1930s Trent cinema architecture.

"It's important that a use is found for this site, but development shouldn't come at any cost.

"Alternative options must now be explored which will bring benefit to Edinburgh's Southside without destroying the unique character and charm of this historic building."

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