The dream of a big screen in Tenterden has moved closer to reality with the awarding of a contract to a specialist architect. Campaigners say it’s a significant milestone along the way to building a two-screen complex in the high street – which they want to see opened by October 2022.
Burrell, Foley & Fischer, a firm with expertise in cinema design, triumphed over four other firms in the competitive tendering process,to be awarded the Tenterden Town Council contract to carry out a full building feasibility study at 55 High Street.
Tom Evans, chairman of the cinema focus group said that the architects now had the green light to conduct a full digital survey of the Grade II listed 18th century Pebbles building, currently home to White Stuff, which has been selected as the ideal location for a Tenterden cinema.
Ashford Borough Council and Historic England have both broadly given the nod to the plan for the building in its embryonic stages.
Detailed discussions, including looking at business plans, will then follow with operatives who have expressed an interest in developing the building. Independent cinema Kino, which has screens in Rye and Hawkhurst, and Uckfield Picture House have both given positive reactions to the project.
Mr Evans said: “The idea is that the study will lead to preparations for a memorandum of understanding between interested operatives.”
A subterranean two-screen cinema is envisaged at the back of the Pebbles building with a green roof, which would extend in the Millennium Gardens. Designs will be presented by the architects at a town council public exhibition to be held in February.