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Source : 31/11/2001 Northampton Chronicle and Echo

The Jesus Army has had to revise plans to convert Northampton's derelict Canon Cinema into a worship centre after discovering cracks in the Art Deco venue's foundations.

Leaks in the drainage system under the historic Abington Square building have caused structural damage. It is the latest in a long line of delays to the proposed multi-million pound conversion.

The Nether Heyford-based religious sect's leaders have told the Chronicle and Echo that they have been forced to go back to their architect's drawing board in an attempt to overcome the erosion to the foundations.

Jesus Army spokesman John Campbell said: 'We have had to scale down our plans and are reassessing exactly what we hope to do with the cinema.'

'We cannot spend more on the cinema than what it is actually worth.'

'Most of the money we have spent so far has been on professional fees, such as the solicitors' and architects' bills.'

'But we do not know exactly how much it will all cost in the end.'

The grade two-listed building was bought by the Jesus Army in March last year.

The religious organisation has now taken on an existing 99-year lease for the building, which will expire in 2033, in a deal which cost several hundred thousand pounds.

Work to create the Jesus Centre was due to start at the end of last year, but a catalogue of delays meant that contractors have only just started repairs to the cinema's roof.

The Army has had to scale down plans to transform the cinema's upper circle and extend the lobby area.

Mr Campbell said: 'The good news is that we bought the shop premises with the cinema and the rent from the stores has helped service the capital cost.'

'We have got to keep any kind of work in keeping with the original appearance of the cinema.'

The Canon Cinema, which was built in the 1930s, has been empty since 1995.