Campaign to save Blackpool's ABC Theatre from demolition
A campaign to save a Blackpool theatre which hosted stars such as the Beatles and Morecambe and Wise has started.
Demolishing the former ABC Theatre would destroy an "important part" of the town's heritage, said Gill Payne whose petition aims to save it.
But Elaine Smith MBE from Blackpool Civic Trust said it should be demolished. "People are confusing memories with heritage."
Blackpool Council is planning to buy it and use the site as a car park.
The 1960s TV show Big Night Out was filmed at the ABC Theatre before it became a cinema in the 80s.
In 1992 it was transformed into a club and opened as the Syndicate. This closed down in 2011 and it has remained empty since.
HISTORY OF THE BUILDING
Originally opened as the Empire ballroom and music hall in 1895, the venture failed to take off. In 1900 it was converted into the Hippodrome circus. In 1910, it was turned into a cinema cum summertime theatre featuring variety shows. In 1929 it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas (ABC).
In 1963, it was redeveloped into the purpose-built ABC television theatre and featured a revolving stage. The venue attracted names like Tommy Cooper, Morecambe & Wise, Cilla Black, Cliff Richard and the Beatles.
The TV show Blackpool Night Out was filmed there in 1964-65. In 1979 it was used by the BBC for the talent show Rising Stars.
The venue's days as a theatre came to an end when it was converted into a three screen cinema before being transformed into a superclub in 1992.
Ms Smith said: "This is my personal opinion but I cannot understand why people are fighting for it to be saved."
She added: "I have loads of memories of the ABC Theatre, I saw the Beatles there and watched the TV show Big Night Out there, but all the heritage went with the nightclub."
Mrs Payne said: "To demolish this building would destroy a very important and historical part of Blackpool's heritage.
"This building could be used in a variety of manners, especially for the cultural heritage of Blackpool."
She added: "There are people in Blackpool who wish to start a cultural museum in the town, both a living and a historical museum."
A public meeting is being held by campaigners on 14 January.
Councillor Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and culture, said: "I am more than happy to meet with interested parties and funders to discuss their ideas for its future use."