Cinema plan to make costly civic hall turn a profit

Herald Series: Mayor Charlotte Dickson and Cllr Fiona Roper outside Wantage Civic Hall. OX56330 Buy this photo Mayor Charlotte Dickson and Cllr Fiona Roper outside Wantage Civic Hall. OX56330

WANTAGE Civic Hall could become the home of a new cinema and conference centre after a £100,000 investment.

The Vale of White Horse District Council which owns the building has earmarked section 106 developer money for a revamp.

The Civic Hall currently costs the tax payer more than £100,000 a year to run, and councillors are hoping to make it profitable.

A business plan is currently being produced by the council which it hopes to publish in the spring.

Wantage Mayor Charlotte Dickson said: “The Civic Hall will hopefully be turned around and become a profitable enterprise and more use to the community.

“People have been asking for a cinema for some time now.”

The Regent Cinema in Newbury Street closed in 2005, because the owners said it was not profitable, and it became Shush nightclub in 2011.

Jeremy Tait, of the Friends of Wantage Cinema, said: “At the moment the largest room in the hall is far too big for a once-a-month cinema with 30 to 50 people.

“The next biggest room is a perfect size but the ceiling is too low.

“But there are some interesting possibilities there, and we would be very keen to discuss them with our members.”

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He said he would be contacting 300 people who registered their interest with the group.

Vale councillor for Wantage Fiona Roper said: “It is great that we are investing in such a great facility. Everybody I speak to says ‘Why can’t Wantage have a Cornerstone?’ “This is the obvious place for a cinema to go.

“I have had a couple of meetings with the Friends of Wantage Cinema to discuss their possible involvement and they now need to consult with their members.”

The revamp could also see the Civic Hall’s name changed, and an advertising campaign to encourage people to rent it out.

It is currently used by King Alfred’s School and by community groups for activities such as life drawing and sports classes.

There is already some redecoration planned for January with new carpets going in.

Vale council leader Matthew Barber said he could not guarantee exactly what a renovation would entail until the business plan is published next year.

He said: “The hall has been at risk in the past but we are determined to make a go of it.

“We need to appeal to the business community and we are looking at rebranding the whole thing as a theatre and conference centre. Even if we relaunch it completely next year, it will require more investment over time.”

He added that the Vale’s business plan would have to meet legal requirements for the section 106 money to be released.

Comments (8)

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1:51pm Wed 19 Dec 12

parvinder msvarency says...

Jeremy Tait, of the Friends of Wantage Cinema, said: “At the moment the largest room in the hall is far too big for a once-a-month cinema with 30 to 50 people.

Jeremy, am I missing something here? 30 to 50 people want to go to the cinema once a month, or about eight or so every Saturday night, hardly a real call for a cinema is it? But a real call for wasted public money.
Jeremy Tait, of the Friends of Wantage Cinema, said: “At the moment the largest room in the hall is far too big for a once-a-month cinema with 30 to 50 people. Jeremy, am I missing something here? 30 to 50 people want to go to the cinema once a month, or about eight or so every Saturday night, hardly a real call for a cinema is it? But a real call for wasted public money. parvinder msvarency
  • Score: 0

10:59pm Wed 19 Dec 12

Gunslinger says...

So the Vale, having handed the Abingdon civic hall over to Abingdon tax payers to develop and improve, are now investing district funds in similar facilities in Wantage.
Looks like Abingdon tax payers are expected to pay twice over?
So the Vale, having handed the Abingdon civic hall over to Abingdon tax payers to develop and improve, are now investing district funds in similar facilities in Wantage. Looks like Abingdon tax payers are expected to pay twice over? Gunslinger
  • Score: 0

11:59am Thu 20 Dec 12

King Joke says...

parvinder msvarency wrote:
Jeremy Tait, of the Friends of Wantage Cinema, said: “At the moment the largest room in the hall is far too big for a once-a-month cinema with 30 to 50 people. Jeremy, am I missing something here? 30 to 50 people want to go to the cinema once a month, or about eight or so every Saturday night, hardly a real call for a cinema is it? But a real call for wasted public money.
I think the point is that if it were showing films more than once a month it would draw more people in.

A bus running every ten minutes will attract more users than one running every half an hour, by way of analogy.
[quote][p][bold]parvinder msvarency[/bold] wrote: Jeremy Tait, of the Friends of Wantage Cinema, said: “At the moment the largest room in the hall is far too big for a once-a-month cinema with 30 to 50 people. Jeremy, am I missing something here? 30 to 50 people want to go to the cinema once a month, or about eight or so every Saturday night, hardly a real call for a cinema is it? But a real call for wasted public money.[/p][/quote]I think the point is that if it were showing films more than once a month it would draw more people in. A bus running every ten minutes will attract more users than one running every half an hour, by way of analogy. King Joke
  • Score: 0

8:44pm Thu 20 Dec 12

parvinder msvarency says...

King Joke wrote:
parvinder msvarency wrote:
Jeremy Tait, of the Friends of Wantage Cinema, said: “At the moment the largest room in the hall is far too big for a once-a-month cinema with 30 to 50 people. Jeremy, am I missing something here? 30 to 50 people want to go to the cinema once a month, or about eight or so every Saturday night, hardly a real call for a cinema is it? But a real call for wasted public money.
I think the point is that if it were showing films more than once a month it would draw more people in.

A bus running every ten minutes will attract more users than one running every half an hour, by way of analogy.
One would have thought it the opposite with these kind of events, the rarer, and more people would turn up, just think if the olympics were every 6 months, the novelty appeal would soon wear off, and stadia would be empty.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]parvinder msvarency[/bold] wrote: Jeremy Tait, of the Friends of Wantage Cinema, said: “At the moment the largest room in the hall is far too big for a once-a-month cinema with 30 to 50 people. Jeremy, am I missing something here? 30 to 50 people want to go to the cinema once a month, or about eight or so every Saturday night, hardly a real call for a cinema is it? But a real call for wasted public money.[/p][/quote]I think the point is that if it were showing films more than once a month it would draw more people in. A bus running every ten minutes will attract more users than one running every half an hour, by way of analogy.[/p][/quote]One would have thought it the opposite with these kind of events, the rarer, and more people would turn up, just think if the olympics were every 6 months, the novelty appeal would soon wear off, and stadia would be empty. parvinder msvarency
  • Score: 0

8:40am Fri 21 Dec 12

King Joke says...

I hardly think showing a film every night is a 'novelty' Pavinder. This is the 21st Century!
I hardly think showing a film every night is a 'novelty' Pavinder. This is the 21st Century! King Joke
  • Score: 0

11:26am Mon 24 Dec 12

Buntcuster says...

Knock it down and build a decent entertaiments complex
Knock it down and build a decent entertaiments complex Buntcuster
  • Score: 0

12:40am Sat 29 Dec 12

Commyguy says...

Buntcuster wrote:
Knock it down and build a decent entertaiments complex
I agree knock the place down and build something that will look modern and work how it should.
[quote][p][bold]Buntcuster[/bold] wrote: Knock it down and build a decent entertaiments complex[/p][/quote]I agree knock the place down and build something that will look modern and work how it should. Commyguy
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Tue 8 Jan 13

mrtilling says...

brilliant so we've turned the old cinema into a music venue, and now we're turning the civic hall (which could have been used as a music venue if it wasn't for the ridiculously restrictive policies) into a cinema - wtf
brilliant so we've turned the old cinema into a music venue, and now we're turning the civic hall (which could have been used as a music venue if it wasn't for the ridiculously restrictive policies) into a cinema - wtf mrtilling
  • Score: 0

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