Cinema expansion to fight off the big boys

C130282-3 Bog Picturedrome  phot kate ENGSUS00120130228125712
C130282-3 Bog Picturedrome phot kate ENGSUS00120130228125712

A THIRD screen is set to be built at the Picturedrome Cinema in Bognor Regis.

Town councillors gave the go-ahead for another auditorium in a bid to fight off the threat of any proposed multiplex by enabling more films to be shown at the traditional venue.

The six-to-two vote was in favour of spending £850,000 – plus £31,900 in expected fees – on constructing the single-storey attraction behind the Grade II listed building.

The council will begin talks with its preferred contractor, which has not been named, to reduce the £890,000 initial estimate to meet its budget.

Councillors also instructed their architect to submit plans for the new building to Arun District Council.

But they decided against spending £1.3m on a two-storey building which would contain a community room on the first floor as well as the cinema screen.

Cllr Roger Nash

(L, Pevensey), chairman of the council’s policy and resources committee, said adding a further screen to the Picturedrome’s existing two was a natural development of the decision about five years ago to buy the landmark building when its main screen was at risk of being turned into flats.

“Extending the Picturedrome is absolutely the right thing to do,” he said.

“We are still achieving all the regeneration promises and ideas we said we would do.

“We are adding value to the cinema and we are now making it fit for purpose – no matter what comes in the future.”

Cllr Paul Wells (LD, Hotham) said: “What we need to do is to make a decision on what we want to achieve.

“Do we want to have just the extra screen or is our priority to go for a second storey?”

Cllr Jim Brooks (I, Marine) said: “I was very pleased we were able to save the building when it was in danger of being turned into flats.

“It does need a new screen, which is modern with air conditioning.

“We don’t need to be afraid of a multiplex but we do need to update the cinema and keep up to date with what is happening.”

But Cllr Pat Dillon (C, Pevensey) said the council should not be adding to the considerable sum it had spent on the buying and repairing the Picturedrome.

“We should be spending £850,000 and no more than that,” he said.

He wanted the surplus which the cinema generates for the council to be used to reduce its take from residents.

“The only money the council gets is from council tax,” he said.

“We are spending money that I think could be better spent elsewhere, though I couldn’t give you an example at the moment.”