According to the Cinema Theatre Association (CTA), a raft of Grade B-listed gems such as the Art Deco Capitol cinema in Aberdeen and Glasgow's Kingsway and Ascot cinemas have been ruined due to HS's 'unwillingness to prevent [their] wholesale demolition and destruction'.
The association has been campaigning since 1967 to preserve picture houses built in the 1920s and '30s but believes the current 'mindless and wanton' damage of the buildings is due to HS's failure to 'value their historic worth'.
CTA casework chair Richard Gray said: 'I am disappointed with HS and their lack of interest in the preservation of historic cinemas and theatres.
'This is tantamount to criminal negligence.
'Many of these buildings have important historic and splendid design features which we would like preserved for the enjoyment and understanding of future generations.'
The CTA is now pressing for local authorities to use statutory powers to enforce repairs on listed cinemas to prevent 'any further cases where the buildings become so structurally poor that developers cite this as a reason to demolish'.