RESIDENTS are fighting to save a former cinema from demolition and want it turned into a community centre.

The former Park Cinema, in Hither Green Lane, Hither Green, was built in 1913 and was used as the Kids Korner nursery until two years ago.

Now the property is lying derelict and its owner is seeking planning permission to demolish the building and transform it into a four storey high block of flats with commercial space on the ground floor.

But residents are angry the building, which was used as a cinema until 1957, might be lost forever and are urging Lewisham Council to save the building.

So far more than 100 signatures have been collected for a petition and campaigners would like to see the cinema used as an arts and community centre.

Campaigner Max Calo, of Mount Pleasant, Hither Green, says there is a lack of social facilities in the area.

The 40-year-old said: “It’s a crucial site in Hither Green and a corner stone of the community. If we take that away we burn any hope of regenerating the area.

“It’s a purpose built performance place in a crucial area so why not try to rescue it?”

TV producer and director Dan Green, of Hither Green Lane, says if the building was converted into a community centre it would be a boost to shops and businesses in the area.

The 38-year-old said: “Hither Green Lane is really run down because a lot of shops have closed. I want to reverse that but the area needs reasons for people to go there.

“I would like the council to intervene to find the owner another site to use for his development.

“We don’t want him to lose out but we just don’t want a potential opportunity for the local community to be missed.”

An application to convert the cinema into flats, preserving the building’s shell, was granted by the council in 2007 but the development was eventually abandoned.

However, acting on behalf of the building’s current owner Abdul Hamid, from Ilford, architect Jerome Lejeune, of Agenda 21 Architects, says he doesn’t think preserving the building’s architecture is appropriate in this case.

For more information on the campaign, visit