The man behind the idea to open a cinema to Bourne says there is a long way to go but he is keen to take the plan to the “next level”.
Tony Mundin’s idea to bring movies to Bourne was unveiled by town and county councillors last week.
Mr Mundin and his family, who also run The Regal in Melton Mowbray and The Ritz in Belper, were encouraged by Bourne Town Council to look at the town hall, which has been vacant for more than a year.
Responses to the story on the Local’s Facebook page were entirely positive. Mr Mundin said he was pleased by the strength of public support. He told the Local that the town hall presented quite a few challenges but he was keen to make the idea work.
“We have a business model that we think will work in a market town like Bourne,” he said. “We approached a number of towns with a view to exploring what possibilities existed.
“The town council has been really proactive and has responded really well. They identified the old town hall as a potential venue. We are now exploring whether that venue is the size we need it to be.”
The key consideration for Mr Mundin is whether he can comfortably fit enough seats in the old court room to make the business viable but to ensure a luxurious experience.
“We are talking to our architects,” said Mr Mundin. “We want to have a cinema that offers the visitor a pleasant experience in a luxury environment. We need to make sure we can get enough seats in there. As yet we haven’t ascertained whether it’s viable.
“It’s going to be ever so close. There is a very long way to go. But fingers crossed we can take it to the next level.”
Mr Mundin said his existing cinemas in Melton Mowbray and Belper had benefitted surrounding businesses. He added: “A cinema would routinely bring benefits to the night time economy and possibly the day time as well.”
Both Bourne Town Council and Lincolnshire County Council have given their support the idea. Last week town councillor John Smith (Con), who also sits on South Kesteven District Council and suggested the town hall to Mr Mundin, said: “I really feel that the people of Bourne would very much like to have a cinema. It’s a good thing for our economic future to have as many facilities as we can.”
Lincolnshire County Council had wanted to sell the town hall but came across legal difficulties as the building was paid for in part by public contributions.
County councillor Sue Woolley (Con) said she would speak to council officers and see what options were available for the old town hall building.