Brynmawr cinema's future secured
4:12pm Monday 9th September 2013 in News
THE group which campaigned to save Brynmawr’s Market Hall Cinema from closure said they were “absolutely delighted” after councillors approved plans to grant a lease to them securing the cinema’s future.
Peter Watkin’s Hughes, spokesman for the Market Hall Brynmawr community group, said the vote to give the voluntary group a 21 year lease of the premises had given the cinema a new lease of life and would allow the group to uphold a 120-year tradition.
He said: “The cinema will be 120 years old next year and this is the best birthday news. It’s great news.
“We have a 120 year tradition to uphold and we are proud to do so.”
The lease will mean the group can secure grant aid to assist with the refurbishment of the premises.
Mr Watkins-Hughes said the group could now apply for funding to undertake “ambitious plans” to expand the cinema. He said the group wanted to bring the cinema forward and make modern alterations while still keeping the history of the cinema.
Blaenau Gwent council had previously voted to withdraw funding from the cinema, the oldest continuously- running cinema in Wales, in March and had proposed closing the venue to save £300,000 in a bid to deal with its deficit.
Following a campaign, in July the council handed over the cinema as part of a Community Asset Transfer to the newly formed Market Hall Brynmawr Community Group, a combination of the previous Save our Cinema and Market Hall Cinema Trust groups.
Following the handover, the cinema reopened on June 27, after a three-week closure for essential maintenance works to take place. Since then, the cinema has been run as a community enterprise, run for the community by the community.
At meeting of the executive last week, councillors voted in favour of giving the voluntary group the lease.
A report presented to councillors stated that: “The transfer of the operation of the Market Hall Cinema to the Market Hall Brynmawr community group presents a unique opportunity to continue with the provision of a cinema within the county borough’s area but without the revenue implications for the council.”
The council approved a 21-year full repairing and insuring lease at nil consideration.
The cinema opened in 1894 and has played host to not just films, but the local operatic society, a library and even boxing matches.
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