Rye is all set to welcome the silver screen this year

Lion Street Rye SUS-140430-135427001
Lion Street Rye SUS-140430-135427001

CONTRACTS have been signed to deliver a state-of-the art two screen cinema to Rye.

The cinema will open later this year at Lion Street and will be run by Kino, who operate the hugely successful independent cinema in Hawkhurst.

It is a real coupe for the town which faced seeing a treasured community building at Lion Street being demolished and replaced with luxury housing by Sussex South Coast College.

The Fletcher Group joined forces with St Mary’s Church to acquire the former library and adult education site and thwart the developers.

Now the group has announced the signing of a lease document on April 15 which confirms the opening of the cinema.

Hugh Kermode, from the Fletcher Group, said: “This means there is a guaranteed tenant for Lion Street for 25 years.

“Crucially, there is now an assurance of income in the form of rent, and a royalty on sales which will repay the lenders who have placed so much faith in the team.

Contracts have now been signed with Kino Digital, R Durtnell & Son (the contractor) and our core Funder, the Charlie Parsons Foundation. We have also received the ESCC Grant payment and a substantial lease premium from Kino Digital.”

Matt Breckon, Managing Director of Kino Digital commented: “We are so thrilled to have signed on the dotted line and are very excited about the opening of Kino Rye in the centre of this beautiful historic town later this year.”

Building work on the site is already under way with tonnes of concrete arriving over the Easter period.

Hugh Kermode said: “The concrete slabs are now in place for the new toilets and the access to Screens 1 and 2 from The Old Library.

“More deliveries are scheduled and by the end of April all the concrete should be in place - on schedule for the opening later this year.

“All the piling is in place - over 30 piles, some as deep as eight metres and after all the finance-raising and contractual paperwork, the rewarding part of seeing the building actually take shape is about to start.

The very first cinema in Rye was the Rye Electric Palace and opened around 1910 in Landgate, it was said to be one of the first air-condition cinema’s in the country. It was taken over in 1923 by the Shipman and King Circuit and closed in 1932. Part of the original building still exists to this day.

Following the closure of the Rye Electric Palace, The Regent Cinema was opened in Cinque Ports Street in October 1932 with 671 seats.

It was designed by architect Henry Coussens of Hastings. Built for the Shipman and King Circuit, it was their fourth purpose built cinema. The Regent Cinema received a direct hit by German bombs in 1942, killing the assistant manager who had just finished supervising a training show. The ruined remains stood abandoned for several years.