Protest petition over axed Lewes film business

LEWES Cinema says it has been overwhelmed with messages of support after news that its popular movie service is to be ousted from the All Saints Centre.

A row flared-up following the announcement, with the long-running operators angry that there had been no consultation by Lewes Town Council before its decision to take over running of the service.

Lewes Cinema, launched in the town 10 years ago to meet a demand for ‘popular’ films at the Friars Walk venue, is run by Marilu Orman and her husband Kevin.

He said this week: “It seems as though Lewes Town Council is going against the tide at a time when other councils such as Worthing are trying to sell their cinemas to save money.

“Local authority-operated cinemas are more likely to be a drain on the council’s resources rather than make them a profit. So the town council’s reasons for the enforced take-over of Lewes Cinema’s screenings do not stack-up. This is a poorly-informed decision that must be reversed for the good of all.”

Mr Orman continued: “The message coming through loud and clear is that people like what we do and would specifically like us to continue doing it rather than the town council.

“It seems particularly cruel after 10 years of slowly building and nurturing an audience our screenings are now being taken over just at the time when we are at our busiest.

“Unless the decision is reversed or another venue can be found quickly then it seems likely that we will have to cease screenings by the summer.

“People are adamant that we should remain as operators of the service and not the council and this is reflected in the countless messages and emails we have received.”

An online protest petition has now been set up at which can be reached from the Lewes Cinema website. Signatures will be taken in person at screenings of The Iron Lady this weekend.

Mr Orman added: “If people would like to keep us as operators of the service we would urge them to make their views known to the Mayor, Cllr John Stockdale, and other councillors by writing or emailing them as well as signing the petition.”