The owner of the former Palace Cinema has appealed to Alton Town Council for its help in gaining approval for his plan to convert the venue into six flats.

Although he brought down the final curtain on more than a century of movies in Normandy Street last year, Raj Jeyasingam wants people to see that it was a picture house.

Speaking at the town council meeting on November 1, he said: “I’m here to talk about the cinema conversion application. It was rejected, I’m not bitter about that.

“I want to talk to you about what you can do to preserve the building. I think I’m the only one passionate about preserving the building and its identity.”

The town council did not object to his plan but East Hampshire District Council turned it down because of a lack of parking, loss of privacy for neighbours and low light levels in the proposed flats.

But Mr Jeyasingam’s desire to leave Alton’s history intact means he is not giving up.

He said: “In a few years’ time, when I’m driven through the town horizontally, I want my kids to be able to say ‘my dad used to own that’.”

The cinema was designed in 1930s art deco style but the façade is currently a world away from its original colourful glamour.

Mr Jeyasingam said: “It will be sad to see that building getting dilapidated because there is no incentive for me to even decorate the front of the building.

“That’s the entrance to the town – so next time the application goes in, do something to protect the building.”

Cllr Graham Hill said similar premises in similar locations had been approved by planners without parking, and Cllr Barbara Tansey said planners saw the light issue as the big problem.

On hearing their advice, Mr Jeyasingam said: “If overlooking is not a problem, I will triple the size of the windows. Otherwise I am caught between a rock and a hard place. I just need your support.”