Cinema still planned for Montrose

How the cinema planned for Montrose may look
How the cinema planned for Montrose may look

Members of the community run project to bring a cinema to Montrose have had a meeting with representatives from Angus Council to discuss their proposals.

The Montrose Playhouse Project is hoping to convert the former swimming pool on The Mall into a picture house and members of the group met with council officers on Friday (October 11).

Trevor Eakin (42), project co-ordinator, said: “We had an informal meeting with Angus Council officers to inform them about what we want to do with the building, how it will benefit the community and to get an application form.

“To prove there is an interest for a cinema in Montrose, we showed them a survey which around 1,500 people filled in.”

The survey to generate support for the project was in the Review office and also online.

Mr Eakin, of Graham Crescent, said the first stage of the proceedings is to submit the survey and application form to Angus Council. He added: “It is going to be a long process and this is the first stage of many.”

An Angus Council spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with the group to help support them while they build their case. We will review their stage one application for a community asset transfer once it has been submitted.”

Mr Eakin said: “There has been a fantastic support from the community. There is a want and desire for a cinema in Montrose and 98 per cent of people who filled in the survey said they would use the cinema.

“We are hoping the building can be so much more than just a cinema. We want to have rooms where local bands could rehearse and where conferences could be held, and we’re looking into live streaming events, performances and lectures. This would include live band performances, theatre and ballet, as well as educational talks and lectures which school children in the area could come and watch.”

He added that Ron Inglis, of Regional Screen Scotland, is now on board with the project and will be helping them to take it to the next stage. Mr Eakin said: “When we spoke to Mr Inglis, he said he had been looking at bringing a cinema to Montrose for a while, saying that the town is a picture house black spot.”

Mr Eakin added he and other members of the project have been talking to the people who set up the community run Friends of the Birks Cinema, in Aberfeldy. He said members of the Playhouse Project are hoping to visit the cinema in Aberfeldy along with Angus Council representatives to find out more about how they set up the picture house.

The group is looking to expand its existing voluntary committee and is asking for people to come forward. They then plan to split the committee into three sub groups - finance and funding, communications and development.

If you are interest in joining the Montrose Playhouse Project please visit their Facebook page or write to Mr Eakin at Dunwalkin, 23 Graham Crescent, Montrose.