Harrison Pitt Architects has submitted a planning application on behalf of Fuelsmart for a 28-apartment scheme at a former cinema site in the centre of Lancaster.
If approved, the five-storey building would sit within the Lancaster City conservation area on a site bounded by Dalton Square, Brock Street and Mary Street. The application is flexible, designed so that it could accommodate either top-end student accommodation or an aparthotel.
The project would see the façade and cinema foyer of 13 Dalton Square retained as part of the development with the disused cinema auditorium to the rear demolished to make way for the one and two-bedroom and studio apartments.
Andrew Walters, architect at Harrison Pitt Architects, said: “This is an innovative yet sympathetic design which enables us to revitalise a neglected building while helping Dalton Square retain its historic character.
“The original features within the former cinema foyer facing Dalton Square are in good condition and can be refurbished, while the façade of the building will be improved through a new, more vibrant shop-front.
“The new building will also provide a visual improvement to Mary Street to the rear of Dalton Square. As Lancaster-based architects, it’s a real privilege to be entrusted to work on this exciting project which can further enhance this part of the city centre.”
The 15,590 sq ft apartment development will use stone cladding to match the appearance of other buildings in the vicinity. A flat roof, clad in zinc will also enable the building to blend with its surroundings, Harrison Pitt said.
The retail units adjacent to 13 Dalton Square and the existing apartments above it will not be altered by the new development.
Since closing as a cinema in 1974 the builing has housed at various times a discotheque, bar and children’s soft play centre. Unlike its neighbours at 11 and 12 Dalton Square the building is not listed but is designated locally as a heritage asset.