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Campaigners hail success in Bowness Cinema campaign

Councillor Ben Berry and local campaigner Jane Hoyle outside the Royalty Cinema

The Lake District National Park has decided not to include the Royalty Cinema in Bowness in its list of sites for future redevelopment.

Commenting on the decision, Windermere Councillor Ben Berry said: “This is victory for the hundreds of local people who have supported our campaign to save the Royalty Cinema.

“I know that South Lakeland District Council will be disappointed that their application to redevelop the cinema site has been rejected, but this decision will ensure generations of local people can go on enjoying this this much-loved cultural institution.”

Windermere campaigner Jane Hoyle who last year presented a petition to South Lakeland District Council against the plans, said: “I’m delighted that the National Park Authority has listened to our community campaign and thrown out South Lakeland District Council’s application to have the Royalty site redeveloped.”

A spokesperson for South Lakeland District Council said: “In July last year SLDC confirmed its formal response to the Lake District National Park’s Local Plan consultation, which included a clear directive that the Royalty cinema in Bowness should be retained.

“The council’s response to the LDNPA says the plan should “include a requirement for retention of the cinema in a way which meets local community and visitor expectations’’ and that the “cinema be retained as a community and cultural asset.’’

“This formal response confirmed a previous commitment that there was no threat to the Royalty from its inclusion in the Local Plan allocations, which aimed to identify sites in the national park that could be improved, enhanced or developed in the next 15 years of the plan period.

“The council consistently said that including this site in these discussions did not mean there were any plans, proposals or applications affecting the cinema and that there was absolutely no intention of losing the Royalty as a cinema.

“It is a vital cultural and historical asset for the district which forms an important part of the Bowness Conservation area. It is highly valued by locals and visitors alike and provides excellent entertainment and leisure in this key tourist location.

“The council’s response to the LDNPA required them to include a condition that clearly states the cinema is retained.

“Following receipt of our response the LDNPA has now decided to withdraw the site from consideration in the Local Plan.’’

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