Clean-up for ABC cinema before developer arrives

John Elcock

Merseyside-based contractor Repair Services is close to finishing cleaning work on the prominent former ABC Forum cinema in Liverpool city centre.

The clean-up is being funded by Liverpool City Council and organised by Liverpool Vision ahead of the outcome of a competition to appoint a developer on the problem site.

The work by Repair Services involves washing the listed building's Portland stone exterior with nebulous spray, plus some grouting and minor repairs to stonework.

A spokesperson for national regeneration agency English Partnerships said: "This work is being carried out to improve the appearance of this high profile Grade II-listed art deco building in the short term as, although we are in the process of appointing a developer, the main works are not anticipated to start on site until mid 2008.

"We are in the process of selecting a developer who will bring an imaginative approach to the revival of this important but complicated building, which is an integral part of the city centre's ambitious regeneration programme."

English Partnerships bought a 150-year lease on the 10,000 sq ft cinema from Liverpool City Council in September 2003 for £1m.

Planning officers suggest that a range of uses may be acceptable. These could include a museum/education space, concert/dance hall, sporting venue or restaurants/bars. The listed interior is an awkward development prospect with sloping floors and eight levels over five storeys.

It is anticipated that the appointed developer will be in place by September.

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