HERITAGE chiefs have refused to back a campaign to save a former Blackpool theatre from demolition.
Blackpool Civic Trust says anything of historical merit was stripped out of the old ABC building on Church Street when it was converted into the Syndicate nightclub in 2003.
They say space in the Winter Gardens could be used for the museum campaigners want.
Elaine Smith, chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust, said: “While we recognise the historical significance of the venue, we would point out that our members watched the building stripped of virtually every visible, physical feature of heritage value when it was converted to the Syndicate nightclub.
“This was done over the objections of the Civic Trust who made many of the same points campaigners are now making at a time when there was still something physical to save.”
Mrs Smith said buildings including the Winter Gardens and the former Abingdon Street Post Office should be prioritised ahead of the former ABC.
She added: “In essence, it would draw funding and energy away from buildings with more physical value and longer histories, a policy which could have far reaching consequences into the future.
“As a group we feel the loss of the former ABC is unfortunate and we recognise the history of the building as a performance venue, but we are unable to justify supporting a campaign which could end up having a wider negative impact on other buildings at risk in Blackpool.”
But Blackpool businessman Stephen Brennan, who is spearheading the campaign, said: “I think if you take rooms out of the Winter Gardens for use as a permanent museum, it would damage the integrity of the complex.
“Groups like the punks, who take the whole complex out for their festival, would start saying it’s not big enough.”
Campaigners are holding a public meeting on Monday at 6.30pm at Nellie Deans on the Promenade.