Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – the charity/limited company which holds a 125-year lease on the publicly-owned Penarth Pier Pavilion has now broken a promise it made less than 6 months ago that the cinema would “re-open in September”.
The cinema is now NOT to be re-opened and restored to regular operation by Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (a.k.a. PACL) – but is being made available to outside “pop-up” cinema operators for use on an occasional ad-hoc basis.
The cinema announcement has been buried in a press statement issued by PACL’s chairman Professor Tony Hazell – which directly contradicts an undertaking he made about the future cinema in May this year in an interview with BBC Wales. In that May interview he said the following :-
In his new statement however, Professor Hazell says “we have been looking at how we can best make use of the auditorium/cinema going forward in a way that does not present a risk to the charity”.
Some critics says this comment by Professor Hazell appears to imply that the directors of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd view their company’s survival as a “charity” as being of a higher priority than the future of the Vale of Glamorgan Council-owned Pier Pavilion and its integral cinema – a building in which more than £4,200,000 of public money (not PACL money) has been invested .
Professor Hazell’s statement goes on to say that PACL “has been in talks with a local pop-up cinema, Snowcat Cinema about presenting a series of cinema events” – but it is not clear from the statement whether such talks are still in progress.
He says Snowcat Cinema has 2 further screenings scheduled for November 14th and 28th and “it is hoped to have special screenings for Christmas”. PACL also states it is “working with other pop-up cinemas as well as inviting film clubs and societies to use the cinema facilities” – a statement which makes it clear that PACL itself is NOT to restore the cinema to regular operation.
It is not known whether the Vale of Glamorgan Council – as the ground landlords – has agreed to the almost brand-new digital cinema at the Pavilion being sub-leased on an ad-hoc basis to outside operators.
Although PACL came close to financial melt-down in February this year – in his latest statement Professor Hazell notes that the restored Pier Pavilion is about to mark the 4th anniversary of its re-opening and says “We are very proud of what has been achieved during that time” .
He says “After several months of detailed planning and discussions with a wide range of individuals and organisations we are confident that we now have the basis for a viable and sustainable future for the Pavilion”.