End of road for Rutland Kino project to create cinema at Victoria Hall in Oakham
Plans for an independent cinema in Rutland have ground to a halt.
A project to convert Oakham's Victoria Hall into a two-screen boutique cinema called Rutland Kino secured planning permission from Rutland County Council in November last year.
It is the idea of Andrew Robinson, the retired chief executive of Harkness Screens, and former Oakham School pupil Genevieve Margrett, who both hoped to enhance the town's social scene.
However, the pair have today (January 15) announced that the project has ground to a halt after trustees of the hall voted against committing to the plan.
In a post on the Rutland Kino website titled 'signing off', Genevieve said: "It’s with huge sadness that I write this latest update.
"Andrew and I - the two locals behind this project - are shocked and saddened by this decision and we feel it’s important to give you all a bit more detail.
"Rutland Kino had hoped to sign a 25 year lease on December 31, 2021. Sadly, just 10 days before - a major £250,000 investor in our project had to pull out. This left us unable to meet the threshold which we had set ourselves to allow us to sign the lease.
"At the same time, another investor had expressed an interest in putting significantly more money into the project but we needed more time to formalise this. We therefore asked the trustees for an additional six months to do so and to ensure that we had the necessary funds in place for the entire project.
"We have been raising funds during an unbelievable tough time but we believed, and still believe that as we emerge from a yet another difficult winter, we would reach our target. We wouldn’t continue to put our time and money into this project otherwise.
"The trust voted against this."
It is the second time Andrew and Genevieve have attempted to bring a cinema to Oakham.
The first time they raised the funds required but were unable to access the building.
This time, the pair believe that another six months could have resulted in them successfully reaching their target during the pandemic and its uncertainty.
Genevieve continued: "We consider raising close to £2m during such a turbulent period is something to be celebrated and as the country returns to normality, we believe we could raise the final amount needed.
"There’s a significant cost involved to get a cinema project to this stage - architect fees, QS fees, planning fees - these are funds that Andrew and I have personally invested, we appreciate this is the risk you take when starting up a business but it’s not money we are prepared to spend a third time in Oakham.
"We want to thank everyone who took the time to write in favour of our planning application and to those who have championed this idea in the community, we know that the public want a cinema but sadly the small minority who have power in the town seem determined to hold Oakham back.
"We wish Oakham High Street the very best of luck in the future."