AN SNP MP has put pressure on the owners of a historic art-deco cinema to stop it from “falling into dilapidation”.

The George Cinema (below) – in Portobello, Edinburgh – has sat empty for eight years, with various attempts being made to demolish it to make way for flats, and to sell it to the local community, proving unsuccessful.

The National:  the former cinema Royal George in Portobello, sister of the Dominion Cinema. STY DONNELLY.Pic Gordon Terris/The Herald.15/2/18.Tommy Sheppard, SNP MP for Edinburgh East, called for progress to be made on the restoration of the building, after an SNP motion was amended by both Labour and the Tories.

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In a post on Twitter/X, Sheppard (below) wrote: “Local people are understandably concerned about the George falling into dilapidation, going past the point where it could be renovated and ending up being demolished by default.

The National: SNP MP for Edinburgh East Tommy Sheppard..Pic Gordon Terris/The Herald/Sunday National.15/8/19.“I’ll be keeping up the pressure alongside @KateC_SNP [Cllr Kate Campbell] - the George could have an amazing future.”

It comes after councillors, including local SNP councillor Kate Campbell (below), called for urgent action to be taken to secure the future of the George, which is a listed building.

The National:  (Image: LDR)Speaking at a full council meeting on Thursday, Campbell said “mounds of earth” recently piled up against the outside walls “could speed up the decay of the building while it’s left derelict”.

She added: “We need the council to urgently look at what enforcement action it can take, and agree a way forward that saves this wonderful building and preserves if for the future.”

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Her motion calling for a report which “assesses the case for enforcement action, the condition of the building and the appropriate next steps in order to secure the future of the building” was amended by the Labour administration to instead ask for planning and building standards officers to “investigate the potential of carrying out an assessment of the building as soon as possible”.

Following the meeting, Campbell said: “I’m glad we got a motion passed highlighting the desperate need for enforcement action to save this precious building which means so much to the community.

“But I am really sad that Labour and the Tories voted together to water down the wording, ultimately leaving the decision on enforcement completely up in the air. Local people are really worried that the building is at risk, and getting the council to take action is urgent.”

The building is currently owned by Buckley Building UK Ltd.