The Future of the Silver Screen in Our District

Believe it or not once upon a time, Rayleigh had its own cinema, located in Bellingham Lane. Seating 696 people, it was opened on 29th April 1937 and closed on 29th September 1973. The building was promptly demolished. Despite petitions from local residents, a new cinema was never built. Offices were built on the car park area, and a block of one-bedroom flats, called ‘Homeregal House’, was erected on the site of the former cinema. Source: Cinema Treasures

Our District Council really needs to think hard about the future. Losing community assets, such as cinemas, has all sorts of effects on the local community. One poignant sentence in the issues and options document springs to mind

To support the vibrancy, vitality and distinctiveness of our local town centres through planning to meet local niche shopping and leisure needs in Rayleigh, Hockley and Rochford.

Leisure needs in Rayleigh, maybe met for 18+ years but what about our younger residents? How do we meet their needs? How does the council meet the needs of families? Is our District ‘geared up’ for leisure?

Todays, Echo reports that Basildon Town Centre will be getting a 10 screen cinema under the regeneration scheme. If Basildon can do this, why can’t the Rochford District have something like this? All the time we ouze money from the local economy to other towns and retail areas. It’s high time our council thought about how we can meet residents needs and made some bold moves to improve our local facilities.

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