Exciting plans for a four-screen cinema in Lewes have been unveiled by Harveys Brewery.
It has agreed to sell its depot site in Pinwell Road to a charitable trust seeking to create a permanent community cinema utilising the structure of the old office-cum-warehouse building.
The intention is to retain the external walls of the structure to form part of the new attraction, while the interior will be completely refurbished with a contemporary frontage sympathetically designed to blend with the local environment.
The remaining part of the site would, in the medium term, be landscaped for cinema users, with an emphasis on green areas, but reserved for future community use.
The intention is that the cinema, which will also house a restaurant, will provide a dynamic programme of daily films and events to appeal to all sectors of the Lewes community.
In addition to mainstream films and art movies, the cinema would, for example, work with local groups and businesses to offer discounted screenings, special interest events, exhibitions and festivals celebrating local film makers.
The intention is that there will be special screenings for the elderly, children, teenagers, mothers and babies and the disabled. There are also plans for educational workshops and the provision of facilities for courses undertaken at local colleges.
The cinema would trade under the name ‘Depot Cinema’ and be run by newly registered charity ‘Lewes Community Screen’, the name reflecting its purpose and spirit.
Miles Jenner, Joint Managing Director at Harveys, said the company was delighted by the charitable trust’s decision to acquire the Pinwell Road site for such a community venture.
He said he fully supports the cinema development which, subject to pre-application and local and officer consultation, should go forward to the planning authorities in May.
Mr Jenner said: “ Following our commitment to the community solar power station at our new depot [in Davey’s Lane] two years ago, we are delighted to be assisting in the establishment of a community cinema at the depot we vacated.”
Yesterday (Thursday) he was delivering letters in neighbouring Lansdown Place and Friars Walk explaining the plans for the site. “We hope you will be as pleased as we are with the proposal,” he said.
Mr Jenner added that it marks the culmination of a three-year project and assured residents they would be consulted before a planning application was submitted.