Future of famous former Islington cinema unclear

The old Carlton Cinema, on Essex Road

The old Carlton Cinema, on Essex Road - Credit: Archant

Owners of old Carlton Cinema given 18 months more to do something with iconic building

The interior of the old cinema in its hey day

The interior of the old cinema in its hey day - Credit: Archant

The future of one of Islington’s most famous buildings remains unclear after the owners were given more time to decide what to do with it.

Plans to convert the former Carlton Cinema, in Essex Road, into a venue with at least 580 seats were given a further 18 months to come to fruition by an Islingono Council planning committee on Tuesday.

The art deco style building’s current owners – evangelical group Resurrection Manifestations – want to build a stage, put in extra seats and hold prayer sessions until 10pm up to seven days a week.

The planning application and listed building consent granted in 2013 was due to expire this month, but now the group have until the middle of 2016 to take action.

Apart from being used by squatters, the Grade II* listed building has been empty since 2007 when it closed as a bingo hall.

Resurrection Manifestations, which is based in Amhurst park, Stamford Hill, bought the building in 2007 for around £5milllion to turn it into a “multi-million pound sterling church” according to its website.

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But the scheme has been beset by problems. The group said refurbishing the building will cost millions of pounds and it must build a two storey extension to the roof for private flats to fund the development.

The council and planning inspector threw its application out, so the group settled for a temporary church while it gathered the cash for a proper re-fit.

In 2010, the Gazette reported how the group was accused of illegally evicting a group of squatters from the building armed with hammers – claims it denied.