The future of Preston’s New Victoria cinema is looking brighter after the site went up for sale.Advertisement
The former picture palace has been closed since 1992 but action group, The New Vic, are aiming to purchase, refurbish and restore the site as they believe it to be an important part of Preston’s heritage.
It would seem that luck is on their side as nightclub, Lava & Ignite, which is currently occupying lower levels of the site has recently gone up for sale.
The committee believe that at £1.5million it is a real bargain are hoping to take over the site and carry out the desired refurbishment.
James Crompton, co-ordinator of the New Victoria Action Group, said: “Once we’ve raised enough money to purchase it, it’s all systems go; we can start applying for grants and other initiatives.
“The doors are open for funding as soon as we get the evidence that the original 1928 features have survived, but everything is still there, projectors and everything!”
James has been attempting to resurrect the cinema on and off for around the last decade, but was prevented from doing anything by owners that were reluctant to save the building.
In March 2010 it was put up for sale, and the movement to bring back the cinema is now supported by 800 members on Facebook.
At the moment they are looking for people to make donations and will be holding various fundraising events later this year.
A statement on their website said: “The auditorium is the largest in the City and lends itself to a variety of uses.
“The location of the cinema is perfect; the layout of the building is perfect; the accommodation (above the venue) isn’t but can be improved upon.”
During the building’s former life it played home to New Victoria cinema, The Gaumont, Top Rank and The Odeon.
It finally closed down due to falling admission numbers and competition from multiplex venues.
Knowing this, the committee do not plan to reopen the cinema as a venue for the latest Hollywood blockbusters; but instead as an arts centre showing world cinema, educational shows and comedy.
There has yet to be a project this large take place in the city centre and the committee think that people may need time to get used to the idea.
“We need all the support we can get, both active support and financial,” their statement continued.
“New skills are needed to join our team, professional fund raisers and legal professionals. Very soon we will be able to take donations.”
Additional reporting by Cara Woodley