Plans to turn the grade II-listed Ladywell Playtower into a luxury cinema has been met with protests.

The Lewisham Victorian bath house was finished in 1884 and was one of the first examples of a public swimming pool, but has fallen into disrepair.

Four separate companies have submitted plans on what to do with the building to Lewisham Council, with three of them including cinemas.

However protestors have submitted a petition with more than 6,000 signatures to the council urging them to reject Picturehouse’s application.

The application is to turn the building, left vacant for over a decade, into a five-screen cinema showing everything from blockbusters to documentaries.

Picturehouse is an upmarket cinema chain, often located in architecturally unique venues which often include cafes, bars and restaurants.

However Picturehouse is currently embroiled in a dispute with trade union BECTU over allegations they failed to pay London Living Wage, used zero-hour contracts, and sacked union members.

Iain Wilson, who started the petition, said: “I live around the corner from this beautiful building. It’s sad to see it going to ruin, but that is no excuse to roll out the red carpet to businesses like Picturehouse, who will do nothing for us except treat locals who work for them like dirt.

“There are three better bids on the table, two of which involve cinema screens. I want the mayor to make it clear that Lewisham deserves better than Picturehouse.”

A spokeswoman from Picturehouse said the union employees were dismissed for gross misconduct after an investigation into a cyber attack on their website, and that a pay increase has already been arranged with its staff.

She said: “Front of house staff in London, except the Ritzy, now receive £9.30 per hour, equivalent to £9.92 per hour when working an eight-hour shift as we're one of the few cinema companies who choose to pay for breaks.

“This was agreed via a majority vote with recognised staff union The Forum. This makes us one of the highest paying companies in the cinema industry.

“We also offer monthly bonuses, statutory sick and paternity pay, 25 days holiday and late night working allowance amongst other staff benefits.”

Guildmore has also submitted a plan to turn the old bath house into a three-screen cinema.

The third application is RJK Properties, who want to turn it into a “cultural quarter”, including a small cinema alongside cafes, restaurants and performance venue. The final application comes from Goldsmiths University, who want to turn it into an arts building.

Lewisham Council had said it would choose a bidder in autumn this year.