Time is running out to buy the cinema in Western Road as talks between the owner and local campaigners appear to be at stalemate.
Today was the deadline given by the Ormiston Trust to members of Bexhill Community Playhouse to lay down a final offer of £475,000 without conditions.
The charity received a bid of £390,000 from the group but also £475,000 from a third party now becoming “slightly impatient” and asking for an exclusivity agreement for one month.
The Ormiston Trust had earlier suggested a grant of £85,000 to make up the difference.
However there were “very specific and tangible safeguards” attached - such as if the cinema project was to fail, the Trust would buy back at £390,000 - and it has been these conditions, say Bexhill Community Playhouse, which were unacceptable to funding provider, the Social Investment Business Group.
Trust representative Steve Macleod said: “Our position is clear and unchanged...If we cannot conclude our discussions by Friday 7th March our board has agreed to give the other party the period of exclusivity they seek.”
Tony Carr of Bexhill Community Playhouse commented: “‘I sense that Ormiston Trust has abandoned all or any interest it ever had in our community project, and that we now cease to be its favoured prospective purchaser. The Trust’s focus now appears to be its insistence that it is duty-bound to maximise its return from its much neglected and derelict old building.”
The group is in discussion with the council and SIB about compulsory purchase order protection for the building as an Asset of Community Value.