Few local communities contain such a major opportunity as the former Picture House, Torbay Road, Paignton. Bringing this important building back into life featured very clearly as one of the wishes expressed by all who attended the public meeting of the Paignton Town Community Partnership in November last year. Spontaneous feelings like this are important to take note of, especially when they have the potential to appeal to a much wider community going to national and international level.
Why the interest in this building? Because when it closed as a cinema in 1999 it was the oldest purpose-built cinema in the world. Add to this the regular use by made of it by the famous author Agatha Christie (seehttp://agathachristie.com/about-christie/christies-life/) and the building's incredibly well located position next to the railway stations plus bus and coach connections and instantly it is possible to see that here there is the opportunity for a major international tourist attraction.
Over the coming months there will be an appraisal of options, which could include a cinema, small film industry museum, cafe, shop and conference facilities.
The Devon Historic Buildings Trust and National Trust would restore the building at a projected cost of about £1.5 million and applications made for grants from the Historic Buildings Trust from English Heritage the Heritage Lottery Fund, plus the launch of a public appeal.
How will the local community be involved? Discussions in January, exploring the uses that might be made of the building, including how to improve the range of facilities for the local community will be taking place and the next public meeting will be on 1 February 2012.
(Taken from an article in The Beach Hut local monthly magazine written by David Watts, Chairman of Paignton Town Community Partnership)