Image of The Crown Theatre in Eccles, credit: Mair Llewellyn

Community campaigners have lost their fight to save the Crown Theatre in Eccles which is to be converted into an estimated 80 flats.

Help Save The Crown Theatre Eccles hoped to buy the theatre and surrounding land and restore it as a community theatre and cultural hub.

Members are disappointed by Salford Council’s decision to approve the development which they feel will be bad for Eccles.

A spokesperon said: “Initially, a build that big will cause massive disruptions in and around the vicinity with construction traffic down a narrow one-way road with cars on each side, and a pedestrian crossing on a busy main road used by school children.”

Once built, the organisation believes this will cause problems with car parking in the surrounding area, stating: “The on-site parking of 44 spaces is not enough.

“It will probably be charged extra and therefore a lot of residence will not take it up: they will park on the streets.”

They also added: “Local amenities are going to be stretched even further…surgery is at capacity, having to wait over 14 days to get appointments. And there are no local NHS dentist places.”

The grade II-listed theatre in Eccles was built in 1899 but has not been used as a theatre since 1932.

The Theatres Trust, which objected to the original plans to demolish the building, has also spoken of its disappointment.

National planning adviser Tom Clarke said: “Unfortunately, the Crown had been allowed to deteriorate into a very poor condition, making it difficult to bring back into theatre use.”

Although pleased by the retention of the theatre’s façade and external fabric, Mr Clarke said: “Vibrant places need more than just housing and while there is potential for future community use in the former foyer, we are disappointed that this wasn’t safeguarded and that there was not a more thorough assessment of lack of need for the building in line with policy and our recommendation.”

Developer Foregate had previously intended to demolish the building but withdrew those plans following objections from Theatres Trust and Historic England.

One Comment

  1. Great to see this derelict old building to be given a new lease of life. The façade which is to be kept is good news. Better a re-purposed local landmark than total loss demolition. In an area of increased shabbiness, second hand shops and takeaways, this could be the catalyst to improve the Eccles area in general. Thumbs up from me.

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