Council agrees £100k loan to cover extra Picturedrome costs

Artist's impression of the completed building
Artist's impression of the completed building

The town council has agreed another £100k loan towards Bognor Picturedrome’s fourth screen project.

An ‘extraordinary’ meeting on Monday heard that a rent increase for the operator of the council-owned building, equating to £500 per month over 25 years, would service a public works loan.

It was agreed, in return, the operator’s rent review would now come after a period of ten years instead of five.

The meeting, and additional funds, sought to address the fact costs will exceed the council’s maximum budget of £850k, agreed in March 2015.

Access difficulties and a ‘consequential increase in build costs’ were cited as primary reasons.

In a statement read out by councillor Jan Cosgrove, councillor Martin Lineham said: “This needs to stop being talked about and start being delivered.”

He went on to deem it a ‘positive move’ for the town and urge all councillors present to support it.

Mr Cosgrove added: “We have a town that has expected this project and will not pay more for it. What we need to do is get it along.”

However, councillors Jeanette Warr and Steve Goodheart were keen to understand the totals being paid out, which includes a £15k contribution from the council for a contingency fund, and the possible returns.

Ms Warr said: “I am concerned as I was told by the builder it should cover the costs, that should is important. I really want to know what the costs will be before committing taxpayers’ money.”

Mr Goodheart queried when profit from the scheme would be available to invest in other activities for the community, something chairman Pat Dillon said would be when the loan had been paid.

Councillors Jim Brooks and Martin Smith were quick to highlight the project was already something to be proud of.

Mr Smith said: “We didn’t take on the Picturedrome to make a surplus, we did it to benefit the town and I have failed to find anyone so far that doesn’t support this.”