The aim is to get a cinema in Tenterden!
Tenterden Cinema Project update 21 August 2021
Following on from an article in the Kentish Express this week, Tom Evans from Tenterden Cinema Ltd says "might we see a cinema on the Highbury Hall site one day? Technically and architecturally it seems possible - but it all depends… Watch this space for news."
Download a PDF of the Highbury Hall layout plan >>> here
Article in the Kentish Express 19 August 2021
Tenterden Cinema project update July 2021
An update from Tom Evans, Chairman, Cinema Focus Group & Tenterden Cinema Ltd.
So much has changed since April 2020, when the Council’s consultants delivered their feasibility study report, that it is difficult to know where to start. As a reminder, the feasibility study put forward a plan for converting the Pebbles building on the High Street – currently occupied by White Stuff – to provide a two-screen community cinema with extensive café and community facilities. Unfortunately, changes made to meet Historic England’s requirements for the preservation of the listed building required a large new build in the Millennium Garden, leaving much of the historic building under-utilised, and a doubling of the originally anticipated cost. Worse still, the pandemic had a devastating effect on the availability of capital for cinema development. Sadly, we concluded that the Feasibility Study scheme could not be financed.
But we have not given up – far from it. The potential operators remain optimistic, and many things are changing in Tenterden as the town comes back to life. The provision of community spaces is changing with redevelopment at St Mildred’s Church, the Town Hall and Leisure Centre, and the creation of a dedicated Youth Hub on the Recreation Ground. We are now exploring new potential locations, and less capital-intensive ways of financing the development. As soon as we have a clear recommendation, we plan to form a Community Interest Company which would allow every resident and business to get involved in developing and running the project. Watch this space for news.
Full Building Feasibility Study 21 April 2020
From Tenterden Town Council's website
A CINEMA FOR TENTERDEN
The promotion of a commercial-run cinema for Tenterden. The Town Council will retain the freehold of the Pebbles and Millennium Gardens and will receive a share of profits. The building was kindly bequeathed to the town for the benefit of residents and visitors and the Town Council is keen to comply with the terms of the bequest.
An enthusiastic focus group comprising local residents has been formed to investigate (with appropriate expert help) the feasibility of establishing a commercial cinema in Tenterden, securing the premises (currently The Pebbles building at 55 High Street, which is owned by the town council) and entering into an operator’s agreement with a suitable operator to adapt and fit out the building and run the cinema operation.
The financial/commercial viability of a cinema in Tenterden has been established. A Historic England assessment of the building itself revealed concerns over the fabric of the wooden structure. The architect has since produced alternative plans which address those concerns and the next phase will be to confirm the viability within that specific location and involve the prospective cinema providers. Once this stage has been reached, the project will come under the control of a dedicated company which will sublet the building to the operators. The latest plans involve accommodation of the auditoria within the Millennium Gardens by clever design using planting and a green roof has allowed an ecological gain as well as the increased public amenity. The Neighbourhood Plan Green Spaces Group has been consulted on the plans.
The town council has been asked to contribute a total of £500,000. The current state of the building would have necessitated this expenditure whatever the eventual purpose.