Plea to help keep cinema dream alive

James Crompton wants to resurrect the old Regent Cinema, in Church Street.
James Crompton wants to resurrect the old Regent Cinema, in Church Street.
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A cinema enthusiast has made a final appeal to like-minded film buffs to keep alive the dream of reinstating a working cinema at a Blackpool landmark.

James Crompton was a member of the Friends of the Regent Cinema group which had hoped to bring films back to the distinctive Church Street building.

He said the group had fallen apart after a bid to get local funding from the Gateway Area Forum failed.

And he said there had been some bad feeling and misunderstandings within some sections of the group, but he hoped that members who genuinely wanted to see the Regent returned to its glory might come up with a new plan.

He added: “I know the owner is now continuing to pursue his original plan (as an antiques centre) but he was quite open to our idea of having a screen in part of the building.

“It could be a mixed use venue. I have access to a Wurlitzer organ and projection equipment so it is feasible.

“It would be another wonderful Wurlitzer for Blackpool to go with the one at The Tower, what could be better?

“It is a fantastic building , it has something special about it.

“The idea of an antiques centre should keep it going but it would be great to have a plan to reinstate the cinema in the background should funding become available in the future.

“A cinema could work behind the emporium concept and I would ask people not to give up hope.”

The building’s owner Richard Taylor, of Blackpool-based TFS Training, said he was in the process of going ahead with his original plans for an antique centre which he put together when the building was up for sale in February.

The building has been derelict since the Riley’s American Pool and Snooker Club closed in 2010.

Mr Taylor said: “I was willing to listen to the Friends of the Regent and their plans for a cinema there and put my plans on hold while they tried to raise the money.

“For a small deposit they could have had the place rent free for six months to get it established, but sadly they could not raise the money. So it is back to plan A for the moment.

“It would be difficult for a cinema to make any money so it would need a rich benefactor or Lottery funding but I am still receptive to the idea and have not completely ruled it out in a mixed-use venue.”

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