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Tonight: Public meeting as MP backs no demolition plan for Eccles Crown Theatre

Campaigners will meet the public tonight to gather support against plans to knock down the historic Crown Theatre on Liverpool Road in Eccles.

Over 2,500 people have signed a petition opposing the plans.

SalfordOnline.com unveiled the extent and scale of the proposals lodged by developers Foregate Limited earlier this month to demolish entirely the Victorian theatre.

Revealed: New plans to knock down historic building for 95 flats, shop, and ‘community space’

Earlier plans had, at the very least, retained the Grade II-listed frontage.

Developers argue that the poor state of the crumbling building is a concern, and the plans at least would bring the site back into use.

But campaigners counter that current plans lodged with the council to build a seven-storey building in its place with 95 flats – and only 44 car parking spaces – are out of place, unwanted, and destructive to Eccles’ local history and sense of place.

Inspired by the work to build homes for veterans over in East Manchester for BBC’s DIY SOS, community campaigners believe now is the time to bring more local tradesman and volunteers together.

Jon Grieves, who lives just 300 yards from the once-grand building, said: “Wouldn’t it be something Eccles could be proud of?

“Communities new and established coming together to breathe life into this landmark building which stands tall on Church Street?

“It is heritage of a bygone era, of which little remains. We want to see the former Crown Theatre brought back into use for the people of Eccles.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund could be an option for funding to allow a community buyout, and the group are looking at getting an independent surveyor to get a second opinion on the state of the building.

Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long Bailey has thrown her weight behind plans to save the building, telling SalfordOnline.com: “I have met with campaigners and fully support the campaign to bring this potentially beautiful building back into productive community use, and even better, community ownership if possible.

Pictures: Mural kickstarts Eccles Crown Theatre campaign

“Campaigners and myself met with Indigo, the owners planners at the end of August where we were informed that in Indigo’s view the building was too damaged to be brought back into use.

“I raised concerns with Indigo at the time as it was clear that parts of the building had been demolished leaving gaping holes open to the elements for some time. This was not in my view ‘preserving’ the listed status of the building.”

You can view the demolition plans at Salford City Council’s planning website by searching for planning application reference 15/66648/LBC, and the proposals to build 95 flats using the reference 15/66647/FUL

Help Save the Crown Theatre Eccles meet at 7pm tonight at the Nur Malaysia Community Cafe, Liverpool Road, Eccles, M30 0WA. All are welcome.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.