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By Hugh Boag
Long delayed plans for a community cinema in Brodick at last appear likely to come to fruition.
The man behind the plans to convert the former CalMac ticket office into a community cinema has pledged work will get under way shortly on conversion of the building which has lain empty for more than three and a half years.
Helensburgh businessman Brian Keating beat other interested parties to lease the building from Caledonian Maritme Assets Ltd (CMAL) for the cinema project and received planning permission. However, while this was concluded more than two years ago nothing has materialised on site.
He has blamed the Covid pandemic for the delays and is understood to have been given a rent holiday, along with other tenants across the country. But he has now told CMAL he is ready to proceed with the project.
It has been claimed it was proposed a contractor would start work in April last year but that was postponed due to the pandemic. Initial strip out work is now scheduled to start next month or by January 2022, but it is not yet known when it will be complete.
The Arran Picture House Limited project was first revealed by the Arran Banner almost three years ago. The plan then was for the creation of two, 55-seater cinemas showing the latest blockbuster films using the latest digital projectors and Dolby sound systems.
It was also said the cinema would show live events by satellite from arts organisations from around the world. Four full-time and eight part-time jobs were also pledged.
A CMAL spokeswoman said: ‘Due to a combination of factors, including the pandemic and associated restrictions, the work to convert the old ticket office at Brodick into a cinema has been delayed.
‘However, we are pleased to confirm our tenant is fully committed to the project and work is due to start on site in the coming months, with a view to being complete in 2022.’
CMAL added it would remarket the premises on the open market if it becomes apparent in the coming months that the project won’t be progressed by the tenant.
Mr Keating did not respond to approaches by the Banner.
Work is due to start at the former CalMac ticket office. 01_B48cinema01