PLANS to transform the disused Lion Street FE Centre into a two screen independent cinema have been approved by planners at Rother Council.
The plans, put forward by the Fletcher public interest group, met with opposition from some who raised concerns over traffic congestion and the design impact on the town, but there was also widespread support in the town.
The plans were also backed by Rye Town Council, with Mayor Shaun Rogers commenting, at the annual town meeting: “We have great heritage in Rye, but we must not dwell on the past. Heritage is also about the future.”
Hugh Kermode, from the Fletcher Group, said this week: “We are delighted and very excited about going ahead.
“We would like to thank Derek Rankin and Rob Pollard of Jonathan Dunn Architects for all their hard work and thank local people for the massive support we have had.”
Mr Kermode says it will be the best part of a year before the new cinema opens.
It will be run by the Kino group, who operate a highly successful cinema at Hawkhurst.
The complex will include a cafe and space for local artists and sculptors to exhibit.
Andy Stuart, from the Fletcher Group, said: “It is very good news. The only person to speak out against the application at the planning meeting was a Rye councillor Sam Souster.”
Supporters of the new cinema say it will attract more people to Rye in the evening , benefiting pubs and restaurants and provide a much needed facility for young people in the town.