PLANS to demolish a derelict former cinema in Pickering and replace it with houses have been withdrawn.

The company Mortgage Guarantee Plc applied last year for permission to knock down the building which once housed the Castle Cinema, on Burgate, and to build two five-bedroom houses.

The scheme won support from local residents who said the site had become an eyesore, but the planning agents have now contacted Ryedale District Council to say they want to withdraw the application. They are expected to contact the authority this week to discuss future plans for the site.

David Carruthers, the council’s building conservation officer, had written to planners shortly before the withdrawal to say the proposed homes appeared "a little over-scaled" for the surrounding conservation area and said the two houses looked like “one monolithic block”. He suggested amendments could be made.

Original plans for the site included nine flats, but the applicants chose to concentrate on family homes after saying there would be more demand. The proposals have been backed by Pickering Town Council.