A FORMER cinema dating back to 1912 has been described as having “high historic and architectural value” by a government inspector.

The inspector was referring to the former Dudley Hill Picture Palace, a Grade II listed, 600 seat building on Tong Street. It is though to be one of the country’s oldest surviving “picture palaces.”

Designed by Howorth and Howorth of Cleckheaton, the building was listed in 2016.

It shut as a cinema in 1967, and the building is currently used as a carpet shop.

Last year Bradford Council refused a planning application to replace a large advertising board on the side of the building with an LED lit digital sign that would be roughly half the size.

Council heritage officers said the sign would “de-value its significance as a heritage asset” and the plans were refused.

Applicants Clear Channel appealed the refusal - hoping a government inspector would overthrow the Council’s decision.

But instead inspector Adrian Caines backed the Council’s decision, re-enforcing the historic significance of the building.

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The appeal by Clear Channel said: “It is important to note that there is a plethora of signage located on the building façade itself, and given the Council has not decided to take enforcement action, it indicates that it is an accepted location for advertising.

“The fact of the advert being in situ for such a long period without any such action being taken for removal, is a clear sign that it is not causing harm to amenity or to the existing heritage asset.

“The benefits associated with a digital display which will result in a significant number of social, economic and environmental benefits through the reduction in CO2 emissions and waste, the use of sustainable energy, the opportunities to advertise charitable campaigns, public art and emergency messages, the increase in business rates, and reduction in visual clutter on a site specific and strategic level.”

The appeal was overturned earlier this month after Mr Caines visited the site.

He praised the building’s “striking and exuberant Edwardian Baroque façade.”

“On the basis of the evidence before me and my own observations, the building is of high historic and architectural value and thus of high significance.

“Therefore, whilst the appeal site is not within a conservation area, it is a sensitive location.

“Although 50 per cent smaller than the existing poster hoarding, the illuminated LED technology with its sequential imagery would be an overtly contemporary element on the listed building.

“It would also appear large and discordant in juxtaposition with the front elevation of the building and interfere with and distract from the architectural detailing on the corner of the building.

“Consequently, the advertisement would be a visually obtrusive and incongruous modern feature that would compete with and detract from the historic and architectural quality of the appeal building.

“I acknowledge the presence of other advertisements on the building, but there is no substantive evidence that they are lawful, and they do not set any precedent for the appeal scheme.”