A former cinema which once stood at the heart of a community is set to be reborn as a new hub for village life.
The Empire Cinema in Goldthorpe opened in 1910 and became a focal point for the South Yorkshire village.
It showed its last film in 1972, before beginning a new life as a bingo hall. More recently it has housed shops and a gym.
But now hopes are high that the old Empire could once again take a starring role in the former pit community, as a new shop and homes complex.
The distinctive Barnsley Road building – with its Renaissance-style red brick and stone façade and cavernous interior – has gone on the market, with permission to create new shops and the potential to adapt its upper level into homes.
The move comes at a time when the spotlight has turned to helping communities like Goldthorpe to rejuvenate and revive. A recent report from Lord Foster, who as Don Foster was Liberal Democrat MP for Bath for 23 years, highlighted concerns that rural areas like Goldthorpe have lost out to urban districts in terms of funding and support.
His report called for local enterprise partnerships to produce rural economic plans and appoint people to their boards who can represent the interests of rural communities.
The move has raised fresh hopes that villages like Goldthorpe could soon be offered help to attract new businesses and jobs.
Goldthorpe has seen significant investment in recent times, making the former cinema a particularly attractive prospect for new owners keen to gain a foothold in the village as it enters a new chapter.
The current owner of the former cinema, Tahir Luqman, said: “Goldthorpe is an old mining town, and it’s now fighting back.
“There’s been a bit of a resurgence in recent times with new houses being built in the area and some old, dilapidated buildings being removed.
“That’s a really positive sign. It would be great to see the old cinema once again being the focal point of the area.”
The detached freehold building sits at the top of the high street and has a public car park to the rear. The front is split up at ground floor level into three shop units, while the former gym at the rear has planning permission for six shops.
The first floor is currently unused but could be converted to residential properties – offering whoever takes over an additional income stream.
A spokesman for business property experts, Leeds-based Ernest Wilson, which is helping to sell the former cinema, said: “There is super potential for a developer or investor to convert this into a high yielding investment.”
The Barnsley Road business is currently being offered for sale through Ernest Wilson. Its expert staff have over 60 years of experience in helping investors find new businesses, and supporting business owners through the process of selling.
To find out more, visit www.ernest-wilson.co.uk