Fresh doubts over future of Byron Cinema

Byron Cinema
Byron Cinema

MORE confusion has arisen over a deal to re-open Hucknall’s Byron Cinema — despite reassurances from the owner of the iconic building.

As reported in the Dispatch, two men behind the scheme are at loggerheads.

They are owner Tharmalingham Sritharan, otherwise known as Sri, and Trevor Harris, who runs a cinema in Staveley at another of Sri’s properties.

Mr Harris says an agreement was in place for him to rent the Byron and run it independently.

But Sri wants involvement in the project and suggested opening the cinema as a 50-50 partnership.

This deal was put on the table but it now seems dead and buried because of more problems behind the scenes.

Even so, Sri has again reiterated his commitment to the Byron and has promised it will be open in time to show Christmas flicks in the run-up to the festive season.

He says that a visit by health and safety inspectors from Ashfield District Council this week went very well and that a licence could be granted by the end of the month.

A new fire-alarm system has been fitted and Sri says that apart from “a few small recommendations”, it is all systems go.

Should the licence be granted soon, this would pave the way for the cinema to open for the premiere of a film being created as part of the British Art Show Fringe on the history of movie-theatres in Nottingham, including the Byron.

Sri said: “All I need to do now is start booking the films, which is quite complicated. But I have a friend who is willing to help with that.

“Everything is nearly ready. The screen is there and a sound system needs to be fitted.

“We will definitely be opening, even if I have to run it myself.”

As far as the partnership with Mr Harris is concerned, Sri said: “It has been offered but he needs to come back to me and say yes or no.”

A disappointed Mr Harris told the Dispatch he cannot see how the current deal on offer can work and he hasn’t spoken to Sri for days. He claims there is a major amount of work to be done before the Byron could be opened to paying customers.

Mr Harris says new carpets must be fitted, seating improved and technology installed.

He added: “It is a shame. I have the equipment and things like seating all ready to go in.

“But it looks like we won’t be able to reach a deal where we work together on the Byron.”

The cinema has stood idle for more than four years, although the Byron Bingo hall has continued to run.