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By Hugh Boag
Arran is to get a brand new community cinema on the site of the former ferry ticket office in Brodick in time for next Easter.
The announcement means that Arran audiences will be able to see the latest blockbuster films, at the time of their release, on the big screen in two 55-seater cinemas with the very latest laser digital projectors and Dolby sound systems. The cinema complex will also screen cultural events live by satellite from arts organisations around the world.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns the building, has agreed terms with Arran Picture-House Ltd to convert the building into a cinema which they say will benefit the whole community, with autism-friendly screenings twice a month, as well as dementia-friendly screenings, performances for the elderly community, schools, and parents and babies. The proposal is for the cinema to be open seven days a week from 12noon to 9pm, and will bring four full-time, and eight part-time jobs to the island.
However, the decision puts an end to plans by the Arran Development Trust who had secured £200,000 of funding to convert the building into a community hub, with office space for existing and start up businesses, shower and toilet facilities and retail space for local businesses to showcase their products. The Trust say they are ‘disappointed’.
It was one of three formal offers CMAL received who say they took their decision after a tender process which highlighted the need for the space to have a ‘community’ benefit and decided on the cinema plan.
Karen Jamieson, buildings and property manager at CMAL said: ‘This will be an excellent addition to the Isle of Arran, and we think the community benefits are endless. We advertised the availability of the building on the open market via our letting agent, Graham & Sibbald, with particular emphasis on a sustainable community, and the bid from the Arran Picture-House team was outstanding.
‘Not only will the cinema bring jobs to the area, but it will also cater for a wide variety of audiences; from school children to the elderly community and tourists. We are looking forward to work getting underway, and hope residents and visitors to Arran are as enthusiastic about the new addition as we are.’
Historically Arran has always had film screenings often in community halls and in recent years it has been well served by the travelling Screen Machine which regularly visits the island. However, while will next month bring big box office hits like the Queen movie Bohemian Rhapsody and the NASA moon mission story First Man to Brodick these have already been on general release for more than a month.
Brian Keating of Arran Picture-House Ltd said: ‘A community cinema screening new releases is a wonderful addition to any community. For both visitors and residents, it can change and enhance their experience of the island. We are delighted CMAL has selected our project for the centre.’
The Arran Picture-House team will now progress the relevant planning procedures in order to obtain the necessary consents, however it is hoped that the cinema will be open to the public by Easter 2019.
Site for new cinema the former ferry ticket office. NO_B48cinema01