18 November 2017   |  Last Updated 18-12-2014 10:07

      Wednesday 17, December 2014

      Funds needed to keep open historic Stockport cinema


      CAMPAIGNERS for the Savoy in Heaton Moor urge members of the community to help the historic cinema open and transform it into an arts centre and cafe-bar.

       

      Citizens have been left uncertain of the future of the cinema since October when a sign reading ‘Sorry, closed due to technical fault’was posted on the door.

       

      However, a community campaign group made of local businesses and professionals have teamed together and created plans to keep the Savoy open and turn into a digital arts centre. The proposal set by the campaign group will keep film alive at the Savoy by creating a state of the art digital cinema as well as developing artistic and community activities. Over 3,000 supporters have signed an online petition for the renovation which will cost £1 million.

       

      Former Salford University head of Media Music and Performance, Professor Ron Cook, who is now chairman of the campaign group says: “The cinema has served generations and proved to be very popular over the years and we do know theres a huge amount of community support to maintain the cinema.”

      The campaigners are hoping that members of the community will help fund, manage and run the arts centre with the main plan for funding coming from community share offers. This will allow local residents to buy an asset which will be a long term non-profit investment into the Savoy Arts Centre with social motivation.

       

      “It is very important to the community to keep the Savoy open,”says Cook who believes the move to digital to fundamental to sustaining the cinema.

       

      Other ideas that have been put forward for funding including the new Power to Change scheme from the Big Lottery Fund which will open early next year and is set to invest up to £150 million to support community-led enterprises and will be the target funding for the Savoy in the new year. The third in which the campaigners hope to raise money by borrowing funds through patient capital. Some investors have already been contacted for this financing.

       

      Opening in 1923, the Savoy is one of only two local cinemas in Stockport, has provided entertainment for 91 years and holds a lot of historic value for people local to the area. The campaign group have expressed their worries that the sale price of £750,000, or £40,000 annual rent, will attract other offers that will turn the building that holds a lot of significance into flats or just be left as another derelict building.

       

      As well as the cost of turning everything digital, the £1 million will also be used for aesthetic purposes which will see improvements in the auditorium and new seating and the installation of heating and ventilation.

       

      By Tamsin Dyson

       

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