Local Community Campaigners were delighted with the outcome of their first public meeting last night to discuss the future of the much-loved Regent Cinema. Around fifty members of the public turned out to discuss the future of the iconic seafront cinema, which was built in 1928.
Campaign organisers Natalie King and Anna Turley (Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar) had worked with proprietor Neil Bates to set up the campaign after there were concerns that it was being allowed to fall into disrepair, despite the investment in the seafront regeneration. There were also concerns that rumours of a new multiplex on the Coatham Bowl site would spell the end for the cinema.
After tense early exchanges, campaigners were reassured by the council's commitment that they had no intention of demolishing the building. They also pledged to restore the canopy that had been removed and work with the campaign group to help restore the exterior.
Local people pledged plenty of support from painting and decorating to accountancy and web-design, and the intention is now to establish a Regent Cinema Heritage Trust to safeguard the buildings future for the community and enable it to bid for funds. The next step is a community action day in June.
Campaign founder Natalie King said:
“I was delighted by how many people turned up and by the strength of passion and commitment the community showed. We have big plans for our much-loved building.”
Anna Turley said:
“This shows what local people can do when they come together. The people of Redcar are determined to preserve their local heritage and want to be able to bring their children and grandchildren to this iconic building in years to come.”
Neil Bates, who runs the cinema, said:
“I was overwhelmed by how much love and affection people have for the cinema and it's given me a real sense that the community is behind me in giving people a unique cinema experience.”