A FORMER cinema in Accrington valued at £700,000 eight years ago will go under the hammer next month – with a price tag of just £25,000.

The former Ritz cinema and Barnes Furniture store, at the junction of Cannon Street and Church Street, was gutted by an arson attack in 2011, which has seen its value drop by £675,000.

The dilapidated shell, which stands at the spot known by locals as the “Ritz corner”, will now be auctioned off at the Etihad stadium, home of Manchester City Football Club, on Thursday, February 26.


The 8,500 sq ft site was described as having “development potential” by Pugh Auctions.

Hyndburn Council’s regeneration boss, Cllr Clare Cleary, said the council had been looking at putting a bid in for the building.

She said: “What we are hoping to do is get our hands on it and demolish it. It has a water culvert underneath it, which makes the site difficult to develop.

“The owners did not realise that. They were advised not to buy it and have come to the conclusion they can’t do anything with it.

“That corner needs to be tidied up because it’s a mess and it brings the area down.”

The large building was home to Barnes Furniture for 30 years until it closed down in 2005 and it has been empty ever since.

A council report before the fire described the building as “ugly” and said it was “overshadowing the rest of the area”.

The historic landmark was put up for sale for £700,000 in 2006.

It was hoped the building would be taken over by a retailer so it would again become a store.

But in October 2011, the top half of the three-storey building was gutted in a suspicious blaze that saw a number of people evacuated from the area and roads closed.