Plans to bring back cinema to town

Two chains are vying to bring films to a Shropshire town as a council backs plans to reopen a historic former cinema.

Oswestry Town Council is set to approach landlords of the building where the Regal Cinema once screened movies, with a view to buying the freehold.

Councillors voted on Wednesday to start negotiations in the wake of independent venue Kinoculture shutting last month.

Other options for a cinema, including using youth services building The Centre on Oak Street, will also be considered.

The Regal on Leg Street closed in the 1990s and has since been used as a department store and a charity shop, but attempts at re-opening it as a cinema have floundered.

Now, a motion tabled by Green Party councillor Duncan Kerr could see screens being switched on, using part of a £2m windfall receipt from selling the former Smithfield cattle market site.

'Money flowing out'

Mr Kerr said a cinema would improve the night-time economy and prevent money "flowing out of the town" and into large regional centres.

Wednesday's meeting heard the council had previously been in talks with two cinema chains who had kept in touch with the authority about the prospect of opening a cinema.

But several councillors expressed concerns that the authority might be over-stretching itself with too many projects.

An amendment tabled by councillor James Owen meant the authority would look at other options, including the existing large screen at The Centre, the building acquired from Shropshire Council.

A report will be brought back to the full town council from the town clerk with options to be discussed at a future meeting.

This report was compiled by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a partnership between the BBC and regional news organisations to cover news from local authorities and other public service organisations.

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