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Sunday, 28 April 2013

I support the Bognor Regis Picturedrome

It has been reported in Simoin McDougalls election literature that I voted against the petition for the Picturedrome,  I believe this is misrepresenting my views and despite his assurances about positive campaigning is a crude attempt at a smear, but more importantly what does the Picturedrome have to do with the County elections, the County Council has no control over the cinema, what voters want is a positive vision for the future of the County Council and policies to get the economy going by creating jobs.

 I support the Picturedrome, the Secretary of State granted it Grade II listing status in July 2009 so it can not be used for any other use.  You the tax payer now own it and through Bognor Regis Town Council and have committed £1.15M to the purchase and upkeep of the building.

The building is now secure and because it's owned by the town Council, it can not be closed without their agreement, and it can not be used for another use because of it's grade II listing

In the petition that was organised by the Bognor Regis Civic Society it petitioned Arun to give the Picturedrome exclusivity or a monopoly of Cinema provision in Bognor Regis, 

I could not vote for this because it is simply not lawful under EU competition law to try and give the Picturedrome a monopoly, but also I believe that cinema could and should be offered elsewhere in town like the Alexander Theatre, There have been no decisions about a miniplex and the St Modwins regeneration, and I am still undecided on this issue and will have to be persuaded regarding the parking issue.

I believe the Picturedrome can have a bright future by doing what the New Park does in Chichester and what it is doing now by adapting and  tailoring it's product to the market.  In fact Cinema industry professionals confirm that film distributors today do not restrict distribution of new films to major cinema chains, this too would be illegal under EU competition law.



    As the owner of the operating company of the Picturedrome Paul, I know that art house is not going to work in Bognor Regis- people want to see mainstream films. (see link above)

    If the multiplex goes ahead, and you vote for it, you are signing the Picturedrome's death warrant Cinemas are all about films, they have no other use, there are only so many successful films to go round. A film's audience dies in a week. The multiplex will be able to show more films, more often. This will reduce the Picturedrome's audience numbers, which will affect confectionery spend, and advertising revenue. As the films take less and less the distributors will be less and less inclined to let us have them on release, equating to even less spend and advertising revenues. It's a downward spiral to ruin. You know about flights and travel, we know about cinema.
    Attendance figures from when Cineworld in Chi opened clearly demonstrate the 'Multiplex' effect, as does the evidence from the numerous cinemas that have shut over the years for the same reason. Ask our film Booker (he books for hundreds of screens and has no reason to lie- if you want his number we can give it to you)

    Without an operator the Town Council's investment will be a dead duck; no one will go into a two screen and fit it out with a multiplex on the doorstep. You say it cannot be closed without the Town Councils agreement, but without an operator there will no one to pay the rent which services the mortgage. So yes, the building is safe ...but has little use as anything but a cinema in terms of being economically viable.

    You could have easily supported or even noted the petition- it had nothing to do with competition law, it is the council's choice as to whether or not they give St Modwen the green light to go ahead and build the thing-as you well know.

    I understand why you are so keen on St Mod and the Multiplex, but it is time you listened to the people and stopped making out you are an expert on an industry which you clearly know nothing about. This is not all about the Picturedrome anyway... it's also about the fact that people really don't like the idea of a Multiplex in our small seaside town.

    Finally, in what way do you actually support the venue? When did you last come and see a film there?

  2. It's a complex issue Adam, I wouldn't tell you how to run your business, but you can't ignore European competition law however passionate you are. Bognor Regis Town Council have sunk considerable amounts of tax payers money into the Picturedrome, I estimate every householder has paid well over £75 each for the Picturedrome. It is for them to decide its future with you as their business partner