Hopes high that Regal cinema could reopen

The old Regal Cinema in Lanark, later called the Vogue.
The old Regal Cinema in Lanark, later called the Vogue.

A new law is expected to offer a huge boost to a bid to refurbish and put back into use two Lanark town centre eyesores.

A suggested scheme includes reopening the Vogue bingo club in Bannatyne Street as a cinema, its original use, as the Regal, between 1936 and 1976.

The Gazette has already revealed the other half of the scheme, to convert the Royal Oak Hotel across the street to flats.

The fact that the Lanark Community Development Trust is planning a rebirth of the cinema as part of a double Bannatyne Street facelift was revealed in statements from Clydesdale North councillor Julia Marrs and Clydesdale MSP Aileen Campbell.

The two have already received an encouraging message from the Scottish Government that forthcoming legislation would allow the trust to buy both buildings at a fair price set by an independent valuer.

The Royal Oak’s current owners’ asking price was judged unreasonable by the trust, but under new use-it-or-lose-it legislation to encourage refurbishment of derelict buildings, they could be forced to sell the trust the 149-year-old hotel at a lower price set by the valuer.

Said Ms Marrs: “I consider this a major step forward in situations where unrealistic prices are suggested by landlords.

“I will never tire of working towards seeing our towns and villages revitalised, and I’m very grateful for Aileen’s help”

The MSP said: “This is positive news for community groups in Clydesdale and for everyone who wants to see our old buildings restored.

“I look forward to the legislation which I hope will bring this about.”