I sympathise with Andy Stewart’s continuing concerns about any opposition to the Rye Cinema
I look forward to all my town planning concerns being proved to be wholly without foundation once the scheme is completed. But will it ever be built?
Kino holdings attempted a similar expansion in Sevenoaks. Just nine months into a 25 year contract the company went into administration. Sevenoaks District Council was reported to be owed £30,000.
Kino Digital then bought back the operational assets at Hawkhurst from the administrators.
The proposed cinema in Rye will have a limited market catchment area of predominantly sea, marsh and rural villages. A proportion of Kino Hawkhurst revenue may simply be displaced from Hawkhurst to Rye.
Trends in digital download and film streaming with Lovefilm, Netflix and Sky, plus the expected release of the Apple I-TV, mean home cinema is the future. It is also debateable if going to the cinema will be high on the agenda of visitors who, ironically, come to see the unspoilt historic citadel.
If Kino Digital fails and walks away from their proposed 25 year lease, who will own this site (whose value has significantly increased with planning permission)? The answer according to the Fletcher in Rye CIC Business Plan is another company Fletcher Centre Properties “ a purely commercial venture”
to be granted a 99 year lease. Thus control of the asset and associated revenue will be lost to the town for 99 years.
A further legacy would be the blight of an inherently unsympathetic structure at the centre of the Rye Conservation Area.
It would be more appropriate for the Lion Street site, given to the town by the Meryon family, to be held by the Rye Fund rather than property developers. This charitable trust was established in part to hold freehold property assets for the long term benefit of the citizens of Rye.
David Wylson, High Street, Rye.