As you published recently that I have written to the late Apollo Cinema chain against their multiplex involvement in Bognor’s regeneration, I thought readers might like to also read what I’ve sent to Vue Cinemas who bought out Apollo:
“I gather that your company has acquired the Apollo Cinema chain, and my understanding is that its former chief executive departed recently, possibly re a difference of opinion re the wisdom of degree of expansion.
“As you may be aware, Apollo was involved as proposed anchor tenant for a four-screen multiplex as a lynchpin in a St Modwens re-generation of two key sites in Bognor Regis.
“In case you are not aware, there is a popular and low-price in-dependent cinema in Bognor Regis, The Picture-drome, rescued by local people from a chain and performing admirably, with investment in the equipment and facilities, live relays, and ticket prices at £2.50.
The Bognor Regis Town Council has purchased the freehold of this building as a civic asset.
“In recent weeks, I wrote to Apollo’s manage-ment to say how unwelcome their role would be in a separate multiplex venture such as they proposed.
“10,000 plus people in the town have signed a petition hostile to the St Modwen plan, the town electors’ meeting last month urged the town council to develop two further screens at the Picturedrome and I understand that independent analysis says that four screens is what Bognor can sustain, not six
“I do hope Vue will take this on board and not be willing to carry on the Apollo anchor tenant aspect. I gather you have a nine-screen project on the go at Worthing.”
I also have had a response to my Freedom of Information question to Arun as to whether they had asked their finance officers to undertake a ‘due diligence’ test as to Apollo’s financial stability.
Their FoI officer has replied they did not. At Civic recently I asked Councillor Dingeman, Arun’s cabinet member for regeneration, why, and he replied they did not check anchor tenants.
Perhaps he needs to rethink on that aspect?