Brighton's redundant Astoria cinema has been sold to a student housing developer for £5.5 million.

Local businessman Mike Holland sold the building to Knightsbridge Student Housing Ltd in December last year.

The new owners are the same developers who converted the London Road Co-Op into student housing.

The firm is still exploring the site's future use, however it is likely to incLude new accommodation rented by private tenants and young professionals.

The derelict art deco cinema was built in 1933 but had been used as bingo hall until the building was closed in 1996.

Paul Zenon, a member of the Save Our Hippodrome campaign, said: “What’s interesting is the plans for a cinema at the Hippodrome would have surely been better served by the Astoria.

"I know there's a priority for housing but it seems like listed building status is made a mockery of. It seems like if the council leaves something long enough, like the Hippodrome, then they can just knock it down because of its poor state."

Local businessman Mike Holland was granted permission to demolish the former attraction last year.

But Mr Holland, who bought the Astoria in 2001 for £2.2 million from Brighton dance company Stomp, said he had no preference on what happened to the building.

He told The Argus: “I don’t know what to say to people who want it restored because it’s nothing to do with me now.

“My opinion on it is that it’s an awful design and was one of many across the country that was thrown up in the space of six months. It’s full of asbestos and Artex now and it’s pretty dangerous. I’m sure it will be taken down carefully and whoever’s bought it will make good use of it.”

Phil Graves, of Brighton estate agents Graves Jenkins, has seen through the Astoria’s sale.