Inquiry into plans for Blitz cinema welcomed

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Campaigners have welcomed a decision to hold a public inquiry into plans to build turn a bombed-out cinema into flats.

Efforts to turn the National Picture Theatre in Hull into a memorial to the 1,200 civilians who died in the German bombardment of the city were plunged into uncertainty in September after councillors backed two rival proposals.

The grade two listed cinema is the only Blitzed civilian building ruin left standing in England and has been described as of “iconic importance”.

Plans to turn it into a memorial and educational resource for schoolchildren were unanimously passed by city councillors, but at the same meeting they also approved alternative plans by owner Reid Park Properties, which wants to put up a new building behind the old frontage, with a restaurant downstairs and six flats upstairs.

National Civilian WW2 Memorial Trust secretary Alan Canvess said he was pleased their objections to the plans had been heeded.

English Heritage had also objected as had two of the city’s MPs Alan Johnson and Diana Johnson. The Trust is in the process of applying for Heritage Lottery Funding to buy the building, add an educational centre and create a memorial garden.

Mr Canvess said the owner’s plans would destroy the ruins at the back of the building, including the stage area and two staircases. He said: “If their plans were to go ahead, we want it further back.”