THE site of a former cinema described as an 'eyesore' has been earmarked for houses.

Plans to build four homes on the old Castle Cinema site at Bookwell Road in Egremont have been lodged with Copeland Council.

The cinema was knocked down in 2007 after plans to demolish the building and replace it with 15 apartments were given the go-ahead.

But the flats were never built, and the site has been boarded up since it was cleared more than 13 years ago.

The latest plans have been submitted by KBE Homes Ltd, based in Keswick, which bought the land in 2007, with the permission for 15 flats.

However, the company said there was no interest in the site for the scheme and the approval expired.

Now the company wants to build four detached houses, each with four or more bedrooms and at least two off-street parking spaces.

The plans say: "Discussions with estate agents and potential development companies indicate that flats are still undesirable.

"Small detached houses are what estate agents advise to be in demand and have proven to be marketable in the Gleeson Homes development at Florence Drive in the town."

The plans go on to say that the site is 'badly in need of development' and that there is an ongoing problem with unauthorised access to the site and vandalism to the timber hoarding.

Neil Ferguson, who represents Egremont South on the town council, has welcomed the plans.

He said: "It would be fantastic to have houses there and for it to look really lovely again. It's in a prime place next to the castle.

"It's been an eyesore and derelict waste for over 13 years. It's been left derelict for so long. Kids realise that and break down the barriers and go in.

"For us as town council and for the people, it would be fantastic to have that area tidied up. It would definitely make the town look a lot better."

Castle Cinema closed in 1976 and the building was later used as a bingo club and then a snooker hall.