Cinema takeover bid moves to next stage

Classic: Hebden Bridge Picture House is a 1920s listed building
Classic: Hebden Bridge Picture House is a 1920s listed building

THE planned takeover of Hebden Bridge Picture House has taken another step forward.

Hebden Royd Town Council has put in an official bid with a view to the premises being run by the community.

Council clerk Jason Boom said: “This document clearly demonstrates, with its track record of achievement and Quality Parish Status, the town council’s ability to take responsibility for the Picture House.”

He said: “We are just beginning and have much to learn but I feel confident we will be able to deliver our promises and we continue to work towards our aspiration of making the picture house the best single- screen cinema in the country”

The council’s 47-page document, which it has sent to Calderdale Council, analyses the current financial position of the cinema, considers its strengths and weaknesses and shows how the town council intends to improve it.

The aim is to make the attraction self-supporting so it does not require a council subsidy.

But it is likely to need more than £400,000 alterations and improvements, which include equipping it with the latest digital projectors and sound system.

If everything goes according to plan and the borough council backs the scheme, the theatre could be under new ownership by April next year.

It could be run by a consortium made up of members of the Picture House Committee, the Mayor of Hebden Royd, a representative from the rural parishes, one specialist adviser, and there will be two seats available for either a representative of the Friends of the Picture House or a member of a users’ group.

Nearly 1,500 people responded recently to a questionnaire which showed a high level of support for the takeover, praised the current programming and mix of live events.

More than 800 people have volunteered to become Friends of the Picture House.

The cinema and integrated shops were built in 1920 and are Grade 2 listed.