The campaign to save the Royalty Cinema in Bowness took a blow today with confirmation that South Lakeland’s Liberal Democrat Council is to press ahead with plans to include the site in the National Park’s new Local Plan.
Windermere councillor Ben Berry and local campaigner Jane Hoyle have been fighting alongside local residents for the council to formally remove the cinema from a list of sites it submitted earlier this year for redevelopment.
Earlier today, Ben, Jane, the cinema’s manager Charles Morris, and Mark Latimer of the Furness Theatre Organ Project presented a petition to the council with more than 400 signatures calling on the local authority to safeguard the future of the much-loved cultural institution.
The decision by the council to proceed with its plans at a Cabinet meeting today means the future of the cinema site remains in doubt.
Councillor Ben Berry said: “I am really disappointed by the council’s decision to press ahead with its plans. It shows a complete lack of respect for the views of local people.
“The Royalty is too important to be left to the whims of developers for the next 15-years.
“The council has scrabbled together a last-minute promise to give it a special designation in the future but there is no guarantee that this will be accepted by National Park planners, or that it won’t be weakened in the years to come.
“The fight to save the Royalty Cinema isn’t over. We need to keep pressing the council to withdraw the site from the National Park’s Local Plan before it is approved next year”