Deal deserves a cinema. It is that simple.
The covenants placed on the sale of the old Regent cinema building, protected it against change of use, but as the years roll on, it seems more and more likely that Conservative councillors could possibly – in the future – approve the sale of those covenants. If that happens a wonderful heritage building that served the community for decades might be turned into flats that families and individuals on average incomes can never afford.
Last year we also saw the boarding up of the bus shelter behind the Regent on South Street. Local media reported that ‘The reopening of the indoor bus shelter in Deal’s South Street depends on whether the Regent developers submit a plan that requires space in the rear car park.’ Could this mean a monstrously large development without a whiff of a cinema? Quite possibly. Will the public toilets behind the bus shelter be next on the Conservative’s asset stripping/selling agenda? Probably…
Labour will be keeping a very close eye on developments here indeed. Any final sale of the car park would need to be for the full market value of the land. Other ‘cheap sales’ by councils in East Kent have led to expensive judicial reviews – all very bad news for the taxpayer. If that happens the people of Deal lose four times over: no cinema, no council-owned land behind, a behemoth of a building on the former site with no public use, legal proceedings with the local Tory council spending our hard-earned money to defend their mistakes.
I am standing up for Deal’s community assets and treasures. If the developers of the Regent want to turn the building into a community cinema or similar public asset, they have my absolute full support. I will campaign for the covenants on the building’s use to be retained and renewed in future years and I, along with my Labour friends locally, will do everything we can to get Deal a cinema.