Success for cinema group in negotiations with owner

It looks as if Bexhill is nearer to having its own cinema thanks to the determination of local campaigners fighting for the future of the building in Western Road.

Having made an offer which was rejected by the owner Ormiston trust it seemed time was running out to reach an agreement on the cinema.

However the Bexhill Community Playhouse group has matched the offer of £475,000 from a third party which it was feared Ormiston Trust would accept last Friday.

The Trust has announced it is “delighted” to accept the last minute bid from Bexhill Community Playhouse and has instructed its solicitors to proceed.

Spokesman Steve Macleod told the Observer: “We would like to take this opportunity to wish the group every success in what is, undoubtedly, a very exciting project.

On a personal note, I would like to add how impressed I have been with the commitment and tenacity shown by the volunteers who make up the board of this community group.

“The proceeds of the sale will be used to continue the vital work, which is supported by the Ormiston Trust; enhancing the lives of young people right across the country.”

David Royston-Lee of Bexhill Community Cinema commented: “At almost the 11th hour we were able to make an offer that looks like it has been accepted; however this is a delicate time, and we are hopeful that everything does come through so we can move onto the hard work of finding funding to redevelop the site into a state of the art cinema and educational venue for the people of Bexhill to enjoy.”

The Bexhill Community Playhouse group initially made an offer of £390,000 having received a grant of £500,000 from Small Investment Business group which backs community-minded projects.

The Ormiston Trust came back with a suggestion of accepting the £390,000, also making a £85,000 to the group, with various conditions attached - such as the right to buy back the building at the same price should the project fail - but campaigners found this “unacceptable.”

Longtime supporter Andrew Crotty commented “We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed and we are waiting for the Ormiston trust to have a trustee meeting very soon. I am very happy that we could be at the end of this.”