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Mayor’s visit behind scenes of new screen

PROGRESS on the newest leisure attraction in Bognor Regis has been welcomed by the town’s mayor.


Cllr Phil Woodall made his latest visit to the emerging fourth screen at the Picturedrome Cinema – and was delighted to see the near £1m project taking shape.


“It’s the first time I’ve been to see the work after I saw it soon after the start last summer,” he said. “There’s quite a difference and I am well impressed by how well things are going.


“I’m looking forward to when the new screen opens in the summer. It took a while to get it going but it’s nice that it has come to fruition in my year in office.”


The extra screen is set to have 108 seats when the final layout is installed.


Its construction is being funded by the cinema’s owner, Bognor Regis Town Council. The £957,500 original budget is set to be exceeded when the final bills are received because of the need to remove extensive asbestos in the original building.


The go-ahead for the new screen was given by councillors two years ago after some four years of debate about the extension at the back of the Grade II-listed building.


The cinema has shown films under various operators for 99 years. It is currently run by Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company.


The site manager for the extension’s contractor, Cheesmuir, Mark Cornwell, said frequent liasion with the operator had helped to limit disturbance caused by the extensive work.


He said: “We are due to hand over to the operator on May 30. It will be a bare plywood shell and it will be up to them to install seating, carpeting and other fittings.


“This is a lovely building but the site is cramped. It’s a nice project for us to do, though the logistics of getting materials in and out is quite difficult.”


An average of 15 tradesmen a day, up to 24, were working at the site in four or five professions.


This amount of work enabled the internal scaffolding to be taken out yesterday and the external scaffolding should be removed on April 30.


“By the end of next week, all the internal partitions will be up. At the moment, it is still like a building site,” he said.


It is hoped the new screen will be open in time for the start of the school holidays in July.


Its capacity will make it the second biggest at the cinema.

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