A meeting of the focus group took place last night at Tenterden Town Hall. Following the recommendations outlined in the consultants’ report, it was agreed unanimously that The Pebbles is the best site for our future cinema.
The next stage of the process is to commission a full study that will include the consideration of planning issues and will need to involve the services of structural engineers, services engineers, etc. The cost of this stage is being looked into. When all relevant information is gathered, the focus group will seek funding from the council.
There was also some discussion regarding the Memorial Garden at the rear of The Pebbles and how this could be adapted and improved as part of the project. It was decided that this should be included in any future brief for the consultants.
At the present time, we have been informed that the Town Council is likely to agree to expenditure on the cinema project of £500,000. This is the amount that the council would need to spend when the current tenancy of The Pebbles ends and would be the necessary amount required to repair the building for any future use and to convert the upper two floors into lettable apartments.
Consequently this would mean that none of the Tent 1 windfall monies is currently being allocated to the cinema project.
It is hoped that this is a figure which is flexible and changeable when the councillors fully appreciate that the letting of The Pebbles to a cinema franchise will generate an income for Tenterden Town Council in the long term.
It is also hoped that our councillors will not lose sight of the results of the Lipton Group survey which acknowledged that a cinema was the main outcome that local residents would like to see generated from our £3.5 million windfall from Tent 1.