Lidl withdrew plans to convert the building. Credit: via planning documents

Lidl puts tricky Liverpool site up for sale  

Having abandoned plans to redevelop the grade two-listed former Abbey Cinema in Wavertree after public backlash, the discount retailer has put the plot on the market. 

Lidl has appointed Mason Partners to find a buyer for the site in the hopes of making its money back. 

The supermarket chain bought the plot in May 2020 for £1.4m but its redevelopment proposals met with resistance. 

Lidl first lodged plans for the redevelopment of the Church Road North site in April 2021. This involved demolishing the former cinema and building a 17,700 sq ft store.  

At the time, the company said it was “not economically viable” to convert the building, which had previously been a Co-op.  

The former cinema was then granted grade two-listed status by Historic England, scuppering the proposals.  

Lidl subsequently withdrew the plans and returned last August with a revised application seeking consent to convert the building instead of knocking it down.  

However, this application was withdrawn last year. 

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Brilliant, now let’s see the local objectors and Historic England provide the money to buy the site and restore the cinema..I don’t think so. This building will just rot away or accidentally catch fire from a passing match?

By Liverpool4Progress

The people that campaigned to have this dilapidated eyesore listed should be ashamed. They have essentially condemned it to dereliction whilst stifling investment and job creation in Wavertree. Anyone suggesting that it should simply be converted has no understanding of commercial reality. As someone who lives in the immediate vicinity of the site, I was supportive of all iterations of Lidl’s proposals. This is another win for the anti development crowd and a strong indication that Liverpool is not in fact open for business.


Make its money back? Good luck with that. Who’d step in now, given the local flat-earthers have put the black spot on the site? The building is not a particularly-fine example of its era and no other uses have been found for it. We could have had jobs, rates income and regeneration. Now we’re just left with a brick lump.

By More Anonymous than the others

Typical sentimentality of my home city. Cry loss of heritage of a relatively ugly building by a small minority. End result no doubt being decades of dereliction. Well done to the heritage loons of Wavertree – good luck finding a magic money tree to refurbish this eyesore! Idiots


There is no good reason why they can’t utilise the building, but that would mean moving from their bland box model. Many listed building are used for retail and other uses – it can be done, they just don’t want to.

By Jo

@Jo – Please can you flag up examples of where listed buildings have commonly been utilised for retail outside of city centres? What contribution is this building making to its surroundings? It is a blot on the landscape with extremely limited architectural merit. In my opinion, the listing was completely erroneous and made to appease a small group of people who are living in the past. LCC should be actively campaigning to have the decision to list the building overturned so that positive investment in the area can proceed.


Jo – the entire reason why Lidl keeps costs low (and it’s entire business model is based upon) is having a formulaic repetition of it’s stores that are simply laid out and easy to maintain. It’s not that “they don’t want to”, it’s just not economical or viable. Anyway, I expect you will be putting your hand in your pocket to purchase the site, I can’t wait to see your business idea for the site.

By Adam

@Jo 12.23 pm yes buildings can be saved but you need the money, I saw lots of old cinemas in London re-configured for housing etc , but that’s London where money is everywhere. Look at the old cinema at the bottom of Park Rd, derelict.
For me the best outcome would be a conversion to a storage facility like Yellow Box etc but that seems out of the question now.

By Anonymous

The objectors to the original Lidl scheme weren’t local, and it was a very narrow backlash – demand was very much there for a store to replace the previous Somerfield/Co-op, the interventions came from people elsewhere who think their aesthetic tastes should trump everything else.
There is no indication of anything surviving internally, so if it doesn’t mysteriously catch fire at some future point, all that will happen is that a chunk of the facade will be cobbled onto the block of flats that will go there instead.

By Cinerama

‘Flat Earthers’. ‘Heritage Loons’ ‘Not open for business’. Glad we’re having a rational conversation about a grade 2 listed building when there are clearly a wide range of views…

By Anonymous

@February 20, 2024 at 12:23 pm
By Jo

You’re absolutely correct.

By Rye

I agree with Jo here.

Buildings like this will never be built again and it is a key part of Wavertree’s heritage. There was a lack of flexibility from Lidl and Historic England had to step in.

By Heritage Action

Who on in there right mind is going to buy the site- with the current objections and restrictions in place – the people who stopped this site being turned into something that is actually use

By Stuart wood

Should have just demolished building, and built new Lidl

By Anonymous

Historic England would list a tent if they could get away with it. They’re the perfect example of unthinking Luddites who are opposed to everything and anything.

By Adam

These buildings are out of date, Lidl know what they can and can’t do to make this viable. Can we have a genuine response from the objectors to what they propose?
Perhaps then we can understand the metrics behind their well meaning but flawed argument.
Times have changed building and renovation costs have gone through the roof so any hopes of retaining the Abbey in its present state are very low.
I feel sorry for the residents who live next door to it, this could become a real blight on their lives.

By Liverpolitis

Another example of the Heritage brigade holding the city back.

By Lee

@jo, and the other do gooders. Do you live in the houses surrounding the cinema, Lance Lane, Childwall Road, Church Road Wavertree Green etc? This will affect those residents, will it affect your house?

By Just Saying!

Lidl’s stores are a bit rubbish nowadays it’s true but similarly the value of the existing building is overstated.

By Anonymous

@anonymous at 3.32. Please clarify what you mean? For many of us the lo-cost supermarkets kept us going during the cost of living crises.

By Life on a pension.

This building offers nothing , can we really claim a benefit to the local community by watching it slowly crumble . The same keyboard warriors (how many offer a solution ? ) who ” saved ” this gem now what ? probably another decade of no use and a blight in the community . Well done to all involved its so typical of our city , don’t forget the rotting mess of a cinema in Park road , no doubt classed as another architectural gem . Embarrassing

By Paul M - Woolton

There is a lot of philistinism and ad hoc attacks on this thread. A repurposed cinema building, even just the outside would be far better aesthetically than the typical Lidl shed.
Thank goodness for Historic England.

By Rye

@MG 12:49 – The Range, Gainsborough.

By Clouded Leopard

Well done to the NIMBY campaigners (as well as others from further afield who were in fact Wavertree ex-pats who now live around the UK and even the world) who can now go to bed safe in the knowledge that they can continue to go past this eyesore on the bus and reminisce about when they used to go to the cinema there in the 60s and 70s – because their own warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia matter more to them than new jobs and regeneration.

By Jason F

Lidl make very little effort in their store builds, cheap little sheds on the whole, hopefully a valid purpose can be found for this building and an alternate site for a budget store somewhere in the vicinity also.

By L14

The old Liverpool Airport was transformed into a Crowne Plaza hotel, I think the Abbey would make a great Hotel and the location is excellent and that could benefit the people of Wavertree an area I grew up in, and my first job at 15 was as a projectionist in the Abbey Cinema!

By Anonymous

I agree with the comments in these posts…this site will rot until deemed unsafe in its present state..then will be demolished in order to maintain public safety….with Lidl..the site had a chance..but thanks to the preservation lobby has now been consigned to eyesore status for years to come…with all the resultant social problems this brings

By Tercol

It’s Wavertree. You think it was a scene of natural beauty. But at the other end of Picton Road is a huge grey railway depot, tons of kebab shops and vape shops, and although the clock tower has a bit of merit to it, the old cinema is a grim looking thing. Not every art deco building actually looks nice. It would have been better getting flattened and put a Lidl on there.

By Anonymous

It was all going well till some people got involved that don’t have to look at it every day

By Anonymous

I’ll just have to keep going to Lidl Edge Lane.

By Anonymous

I used to work there. The reason it needs knocking down and rebuilding is because it’s full of asbestos and it’s cheaper to knock it down and start again that to make it safe to work in. Plus it leaks like a sieve.

By Anonymous

All the objectors should be made to pay lidl including Historic England

By Les

Turn it back into a cinema it was one of Liverpools finest

By Anonymous

It might as well have been a Lidl
What’s next…a gallon of petrol.

By Mac

I live close to the abbey and no one was against it and we wasn’t consulted about it being listed the people who was against it don’t even live in wavertree

By Phill Gallagher

Do we really need another Lidl? There’s one on Childwall Valley Road about a mile away! Picton Road seems to be having a bit of a renaissance – there are lots of beautiful houses around there and probably people wanting to spend money on their doorstep. why can’t this be a market hall or a local destination – which would link into the surrounding areas?
Lot of angry comments on here – people getting a bit naughty. Everyone entitled to an opinion.

By Bob Dawson

We have a heated debate about a Lidil and a rundown cinema and in Manchester they have just started on a £1.7 billion regeneration scheme close to the University. Liverpool city Council really need to get their act together.

By Anonymous

You only have to look at the deterioration to this building in the last couple of years and the eyesore that it has become and you can imagine the further decline and health hazard that will occur over time.
Such a shame when it could have been a convenient store for the surrounding neighbours and also could have provided jobs for local people.

By 3 Local residents... S.A, J.G, and L.S.

@Bob 2.34pm, you want a market hall or a local destination, which is a bit vague. Do you realise how big this building is? For what you recommend a couple of portakabins would do. It’s been empty for years, no one wants it unfortunately, and if something viable was available it would have surfaced by now.

By Anonymous

It’s not going to be a successful cinema again. We have the internet now.

Its an ugly brick box with no windows which hopefully burns down. Even the entrance looks like it was done on a budget!

Historic England needs to take responsibility for listing this. Theres so many beautiful churches in Liverpool which need saving. It’s embarrassing.

By Dan

Can the do gooders reverse the grade 2 status so something worthy can be done to the site.

By Anonymous

It’s 1938 and the local residents of Wavertree have just seen the proposed plans for a new state of the art cinema to be built opposite the historical coffee house pub and clock tower, residents brand it a futuristic eye sore that will blot the landscape of the rural Wavertree suburb, local resident Jean Moore who has lived here for 50 years comments, “it’s awful, why would they build such a grotesque structure there with all the surrounding victorian heritage? It won’t fit in? It’ll be an eyesore for years to come and it completely throws off the look of the area!”… Mr Adams local resident and shop keeper states “I love it, cinema is becoming quite the fad and the new cinema will bring us up to the times, we can’t keep living in the victorian ages, times have moved on, cinema going is set to be a successful fashion and no doubt a modern cinema will bring employment and a bit of glamour the the old fashioned and drab looking area of Wavertree, I’m all for it! “. Residents have until September of 1938 to oppose the plans and are advised to write opposition letters to the local council poste haste.

By Mrs Bayley

The site is now a victim of it’s own success. My family practically used it every week in the 50’s 60″s. But tlmes have moved on. Surely this site must be used as a mixed use site. Needs people with great vision and a ridiculous amount of money. In these times only venture capital companies could possibly entertain such a project.
With a grade 2 listing I can not see any organisation taking this on.

By Howard Jones

@Anon 3:13 pm

The saddest part is that Manc will probably have built most of that masterplan before LCC does something with this.

By Anonymous

Such a pity the local NIMBYs got involved and left the area with a rotting eyesore for years to come.

By Noblelox

I worked there for over 20 years and as previously stated the big problems are asbestos and water leaks during and after heavy rain. The asbestos situation was contained during my time but subsequent surveys may have left a lot of it exposed, especially in the upper levels. Saying that, if Lidl made the structure watertight they would have no problem fitting out a store on the ground level. Lots of space and offices,canteen area and large warehouse all on site. The upper level can be a project for a later date, maybe with commercial partners and partial funding from grants. If Lidl really wanted a store there they could have it in there and ready to go in just a few months. Surely this would be a better compromise for everyone. When Lidl’s surveyor/estates man came into the building before we closed I told him if they try to knock it down it will be listed. If only he had listened to me. I will be happy to answer relevant questions on the building and site.

By Anonymous

Magnificent building with magnificent history. A real energy radiates from this place . It’s heart is in creativity in many forms . Perhaps a multifunctional venue. If I had the relatively small amount it would take to restore it I would begin tomorrow.. somebody with connections needs to put a consortium together . To publicize the potential and get moving. From Jackie a local resident

By Jackie

When I worked there the local councillor,I think his name was Cummings was always trying to act the big man throwing his council weight around and constantly having a go at the management over trivial things. What is he doing about this now ?

By Anonymous

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