Campaigners battling to save the Futurist Cinema on Lime Street have been handed a boost after the Court of Appeal granted them permission to legally challenge its demolition.
An application submitted by SAVE Britain’s Heritage to halt the demolition of the former picturehouse and 10 other buildings on Lime Street was given the green light by Lord Justice Lindblom QC.
Granting the Order to Appeal, Lord Justice Lindblom QC is said to have highlighted that “the appeal has a real prospect of success”.
Commenting on the stretch of the street, which is the subject of previously approved regeneration plans by Neptune Developments, SAVE Britain’s Heritage president Marcus Binney says: “This is a key piece of Liverpool townscape first shown on a map in 1780 and reaching its glory moment in Edwardian times with the two handsome listed pubs at the ends of the block and the 1912 Futurist in the centre.
“It should have been made a Conservation Area 10 years ago as English Heritage suggested.”
The news comes as Neptune Developments director Rob Mason says: “To suggest that the façade can or should be retained on its own is both confusing and inconsistent. No-one has ever claimed that the façade cannot possibly be retained. Everything is possible, but in this case the cost would be excessive, the disruption enormous and the benefit in conservation terms negligible.”
According to the developer, earlier reports have investigated and rejected the idea of façade retention on the basis that the cost would be in excess of £2.5 million, with no guarantee that the façade would remain intact due to the brittle nature of the concrete tiles.
It has also been suggested that the work would require the closure of part of Lime Street for more than 12 months.
Urgent repair work is currently being carried out on the art-deco Futurist building after an inspection showed it’s in danger of collapse.
A cordon has been placed around the site with the pavement in front of the much-loved landmark closed off.
A Liverpool City Council spokesperson says: “The façade of the Futurist has been declared unsafe by independent building inspectors and the job of making it structurally secure is now underway.
“This is a very delicate process and we’re taking care to only remove the bits of the structure that are causing a danger to public safety and doing our very best to preserve as much of it as possible.”
A public petition to Save the Futurist Cinema gathered more than 4,000 signatures and the appeal is now expected to go ahead as an urgent case before the end of May 2016.