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Wellington community cinema project takes step forward

By Rob Golledge | Wellington | Telford entertainment | Published: | Last Updated:

A ‘significant step forward’ has been taken in the bid to set up an independent cinema and arts centre in the centre of Wellington.

A group set up to revive the old Clifton Cinema in Wellington is now celebrating a victory in its quest to bring a community cinema to the town.

Members of Clifton Community Arts Centre group have agreed the terms of a lease deal with HSBC, which formerly ran a now-vacant bank in the town.

The group hopes the building, which dates back to 1901, can be turned into a community cinema, cafe and exhibition space.

The building as it stand today

Fiona Hunter, spokeswoman for the campaign, said: “The position has been complicated because HSBC does not own the freehold and its lease with its landlord required them to get certain consents from their landlord to go ahead.

“These have now been obtained and we have submitted a planning application to Telford & Wrekin Council. We are delighted to announce what we see as a further significant step forward.

“While we do not want to get ahead of ourselves, we expect to get a lease drawn up in the near future and all our energies are now focused on planning for this.”

The group has arranged a meeting of members, supporters and friends at the King Street Café in Wellington on Thursday at 6.30pm, to which anyone is invited.

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The application to Telford & Wrekin Council for a change of use to the building requires a 21-day consultation period before a planning decision is made, and while this is underway the community group is working with HSBC and its agents to establish a sub-lease.

If the project is successful, the Station Road building will be transformed to include an 80-seat VIP-style cinema and cafe on the ground floor, as well as an exhibition space for artists to showcase their work on the upper floors. In future the project could be expanded to include a further performance space upstairs.

The group was originally set up to establish a community cinema in the famous Clifton building in Wellington, but after that project was unsuccessful it has turned its attentions to the former bank on Station Road. They are still interested in the future preservation of the Clifton and are monitoring its use.

Rob Golledge

By Rob Golledge
@golledge_star

Part of the Express & Star special projects team responsible for investigations and major stories from politics to counter terrorism

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