COMMUNITYY leaders in Bacup have called for improvements to be made to one of the town’s most iconic buildings.

Paul Greenwood, of Bacup Pride, and Wendy Lord, of Bacup Natural History Society, labelled the disused Regal Cinema, in Burnley Road, as an ‘eyesore’.

The building, owned by property developer B&E Boys, has been vacant since the turn of the century and subjected to a spate of graffiti.

Ms Lord said the ‘whole town’ would like to see something done with the site, which had originally housed a public hall before the cinema opened in 1931.

She said: “I think that everybody in Bacup would like to see something done with it. There was talk of development a while back but nothing materialised.

“I don’t know what it’s like inside - the last time I was there was when it was a bingo hall – I agree with Bacup Pride that it does need work.

“I don’t think it’s one of the buildings that the THI (Townscape Heritage Initiative) money is earmarked for.

In 2005,London businessman Ahmed Khashaba bought the building at an auction, but disposed of it in 2007 following a critical television documentary into the acquisition.

B&E Boys lodged a planning application in 2009 to demolish part of the cinema, but it was refused by Rossendale Council on the grounds that it would ‘be harmful to the character and appearance’ of the Bacup Town Centre Conservation Area.

Coun Jimmy Eaton said B&E Boys, based in Todd Carr Road, Waterfoot, had ‘a good track record’ of looking after buildings.

No-one from B&E Boys was available to comment.