OPPOSING town councillors united to defer a decision about extending the Picturedrome in Bognor Regis for two months.
They had been due to vote on a motion which called into question the survival of the project for an £850,000 fourth screen.
But this was withdrawn in favour of an alternative which pushed the final debate to the next council meeting in November.
Cllr Paul Wells (LD, Hotham) said: “I am very pleased by this. It is the best way for this council to resolve all the consciences.
“I believe the cinema is a good project but we do have to take this step carefully because we have to deal with the public interest. We can’t run the risk of going beyond £850,000. It’s quite a lot of money.”
The council members agreed the council’s clerk, Glenna Frost, should set up a working group of one member of each political party or Independent members, supported by their accountant Derek Kemp and advisor Peter Cooper, to consider all the evidence around the cinema’s proposed extension.
It will also consider issues raised by councillors and review previous decisions and reports.
The motion also states next Tuesday’s electors’ meeting will be used to determine the view of residents about the matter.
Its final part says an independent review will be compiled after the working group’s investigation and this will be considered before the next council meeting.
Cllr Steve Goodheart (I, Hotham) said: “By November, this council will have the final figure to make a decision on and the review will have taken place.
“That’s the best way forward for this council and, hopefully, sorts out the warring sides.”
The agreement came after about two-and-a-half hours.
The council runs the Picturedrome through the Bognor Pier Company. This lets the current three screens to the operator, the Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company, whose managing director is town councillor Adam Cunard who was absent from the debate.
Last March saw the town council agree to spend up to £850,000 on building an extension, plus professional fees, for a fourth screen. The final quote from the chosen contractor has not yet been given.
But July saw a motion signed by four town councillors to abandon the scheme. This was amended for Monday’s meeting to call for the work only to go ahead if the operator paid all the costs. This motion was withdrawn before a vote was taken.
n The electors’ meeting has been called by Cllr Jan Cosgrove (L, Orchard) and Cllr Graham Jones (I, Marine). They said: “This meeting of electors of Bognor Regis supports the addition of the fourth screen to the Picturedrome on the basis decided by the town council on March 4, funded through extra rent and surplus available to the Bognor Pier Company owned by the council.”
They also ask the meeting rejects any funding proposal which would see the operator fund the extension to a building he does not own and which could result in steep ticket price rises.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.bognor.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BognorRegisObserver
3) Follow us on Twitter @BogObserver
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Bognor Observer - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.