The price of a Palace - offers over £400,000 invited for Longridge cinema
Offers have been invited over £400,000 for the historic Palace cinema and theatre in Longridge.
The property on Market Place, Longridge, is one of the oldest cinemas in the northwest.
Over the years the building has had a chequered history with uses ranging from mill shed to music hall, bingo hall to cinema.
The cinema which has a bar and small cafe has been closed since lockdown.The owners, Chorley based Parkwood Holdings, which had subsidised the cinema, recently decided it was not going to be financially possible to reopen it.
Agents commercial property consultants Trevor Dawson of Blackburn said the sale offers a: "rare opportunity to acquire a substantial property in Longridge town centre" and advise it could be "suitable for a variety of uses subject to planning."
Caroline James, Managing Director of Trevor Dawson said: "We haven't done a cinema recently...I relish the prospect of bringing this sort of opportunity to the market."
She said it was possible it could continue as a cinema if there is an appetite for that, but it has potential for many other uses too. She said: "I know elsewhere in the country private cinemas still operate. It's a massive hall, which could be used for a variety of uses, including leisure - it could be a restaurant or something like that. It's unique. It's a big space - I think it could appeal to a variety of people who know and love Longridge."
The Palace site occupies 0.143 of an acre and the traditional stone building is described as: "Internally fitted out as the immediate past use as a cinema comprising the main hall with bar and lobby off, toilets and cellar."
Offices, a balcony and screening room are located on the first floor and there is space for eight cars to park at the rear.
Would be purchasers are advised to check with Ribble Valley Borough Council's planning department about potential changes of use.
The property is in the central Longridge Conservation Area and has parking for eight vehicles at the rear.
The cinema had been run by local filmmaker Lara Hewitt, since it was purchased by her late father Tony's company Parkwood Holdings, which specialised in leisure, more than three and a half years ago. The intention had been for Lara and Tony to run it together, but Tony died unexpectedly of sepsis 48 hours before the sale was concluded on January 2, 2018.
The building was renovated and Lara re-opened the cinema and extended its role. But it was still not breaking even when the pandemic forced its closure.
After the decision to sell was announced Lara, who had written and staged a community pantomime at the Palace and organised other live entertainment events there, said : "I will miss it very much, but I know that not everything has to last forever to matter and this mattered."
Lara said she still hoped it could be a building which served the community and said: "Due to financial pressures, Parkwood need to sell the Palace in order to pay off bank loans taken out during the pandemic ... Hopefully a bid from a local organisation will retain the Palace as a building which serves the community."
For our report on the decision to put the Palace up for sale see here .
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