Plans for a cinema in Whitstable Harbour are “not dead”, KentOnline can reveal.
Discussions have continued about the idea despite it being snubbed by Canterbury City Council earlier this year.
Community group Cinema for Whitstable (CFW) had campaigned for a movie theatre to be included in the council’s development of the South Quay Shed.
It is being transformed into a mixed-use space for shopping, a restaurant or café, and a possible museum space for exhibition and education activities – with a design that will incorporate shipping containers.
But at the latest Whitstable Harbour Board meeting, it emerged the council is now considering the former cockle shed, near the West Quay entrance, for the cinema.
Residents who campaigned for cinema left outraged
CFW campaigner Simon Poole says they are in talks with a number of mainstream cinema operators, adding: “We campaigned for [the council] to have another think on it and they have been terrific.
“It would drive people who wouldn’t usually go in the evenings or in the winter.
“It is great to see the council is listening to local people. Everything is looking pretty possible.”
Mr Poole claims a three-screen cinema would attract 180,000 new visitors to the harbour annually – which would bring “cultural and economic benefits” to the town.
He says the South Quay Shed plan was “impractical” as the site was too small.
“It is great to see the council is listening to local people,” he added.
“Everything is looking pretty possible.
“People have to travel to Canterbury or Thanet to go to the cinema. It is a big no-brainer.”
Cllr Chris Cornell, who has campaigned for a cinema in the town, said: “Plans for the cinema in Whitstable are very much alive.
“While the plans for the South Quay Shed have been shelved, the Harbour Board have been working with several established small cinema chains to identify what size and style of cinema will be economically viable.
“These parties and the Harbour Board are extremely excited about the opportunities which exist for a cinema on the old cockle processing site and as such are now doing in-depth work on how we proceed. Watch this space.”
Source: Kent Online