Bourne town hall ‘too small’ to become a cinema

Bourne Town Hall. Photo by Rex Needle ENGEMN00120131220142810

Bourne Town Hall. Photo by Rex Needle ENGEMN00120131220142810

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The curtain has come down on plans to turn Bourne town hall into a cinema after the building was found to be too small.

The family firm behind The Regal in Melton Mowbray were investigating whether they could transform the court room of the 19th century building into a luxury theatre.

Tony Mundin, who also runs The Ritz in Belper, said it would be a close call but he was keen to make it happen.

But this week town clerk Nelly Jacobs revealed that Mr Mundin’s architects had eventually concluded that the town hall was too small to make a cinema viable.

Mrs Jacobs said: “They have investigated the size and whether they could keep to their normal business plan and they just can’t make it work. They can’t make it a viable cinema.

“They thanked us for being very supportive. We hope to be involved if another opportunity presents itself.”

Mrs Jacobs said there were no other obvious buildings that would lend themselves to becoming a cinema in Bourne, although she added: “I might speak to Mr Mundin about the library but I can’t really think of anywhere else.

“It’s a big shame because it would have been perfect. I know that they looked at it from every angle.”

The town hall has been vacant since town and district councils moved into the corn exchange in March last year.

Lincolnshire County Council thought it owned the building and wanted to sell it but, came across legal difficulties as the building, which was built in 1821, was paid for in part by public contributions.

The county council also owns the library building in South Street. The library has also moved to the corn exchange.

Coun Sue Woolley (Con), who represents the Bourne Abbey ward, backed the cinema idea. She said: “Obviously I am disappointed that Mr Mundin doesn’t feel able to pursue the idea. Equally I do have to say I think it was the right thing for the town council to pursue the possibility.

“Hopefully it will have got everyone’s thinking caps on. I have to say it was marvellous going shopping the day after the news broke. All age groups were coming up to me and saying it was a fantastic idea.

“It might be that others come forward with a scaled down version.”