Byron Cinema set to open again

THE curtain could soon be going up again on Hucknall's Byron Cinema, which has been closed for about four years.

For cinema entrepreneur Trevor Harris says he is keen to re-open the Byron before Christmas.

The cinema, which dates from the 1930s, is in the same building as the Byron Bingo Hall at the junction of High Street and Duke Street.

The business is now owned by Tharmalingham Sritharan, otherwise known as Sri, who said he was anxious for the cinema to be re-opened as soon as possible.

"I want it to be revived because the cinema is just so much wasted space at present," said Sri. "In the present economic downturm, this state of affairs is unacceptable.

"All that is needed for the cinema to open again is a new screen, which will cost about 300, plus a bit of painting, improved seating and new carpeting."

"Because of Mr Harris's contacts, it is anticipated that new releases of films will be obtained. This would mean that Hucknall people can see the latest hit movies on their doorstep instead of having to travel all the way to Nottingham city centre.

"A university lecturer who is an expert on cinemas will be in touch with us to offer advice," said Sri. "But one point I would like to stress is that it is obviously vital for the people of Hucknall to support this venture to make it justifiable."

The Byron had suffered from a general decline in patronage of cinemas over a number of years but a key factor in the lengthy closure was controversy involving the last owner, Asif Sahil, and the way he ran the establishment.

One example was that, after a complaint by a filmgoer, the Dispatch established that the Byron was not covered by fire regulations.

Sri said this was the main reason why he had been reluctant, up to now, to revive the cinema.

But he stressed: "I have every confidence in Mr Harris because of the highly professional way he ran a cinema I own in Staveley, Derbyshire.

"I am sure he would make an excellent job of running the Byron."

Mr Harris has been keen to open a cinema in Hucknall for some time and has looked at other possible venues, including the former Bourne Methodist Church on Beardall Street.

He said: "It has long been my ambition to re-open the Byron and it is a really exciting prospect. But I do not want to make any further comment at the moment and I will wait until the negotiations have been completed."