£5 million to Woking cinema too much says Lib Dem Leader

December 11, 2018 9:21 PM
By Councillor Ann-Marie Barker

£5 million to cinema too much for public purse says Lib Dem Leader

Liberal Democrat Leader on Woking Council Ann-Marie Barker has criticised Woking Conservative plans to spend £5 million on cinema complex run by major international theatre group ATG.

Cllr Ann-Marie Barker, Liberal Democrat Leader on Woking Council, has criticised Woking Conservatives for plans to spend £5 million to refurbish the Woking cinema complex. The Council plans to borrow £5 million pounds to update the tired and ageing cinema, which was recently revealed to have a rodent problem, whilst ATG contributes just £1 million to the upgrade.

"The cinema complex is run by ATG, a major international theatre group, they will get the revenue from the updated complex" fumed Cllr Barker "why should the public of Woking pay high ticket prices, high prices for food and drink and then pay to update the venue as well?".

Speaking at a Woking Council meeting Cllr Barker highlighted the range of new, modern cinemas on offer in towns around including Camberley, Guildford, Farnborough and most recently Addlestone. She suggested ATG had let down Woking in taking so long to bring forward improvement plans.

"In recent years our, neighbouring towns have opened new or improved cinemas whilst Woking has been left to lag behind. So many people are now travelling elsewhere to the cinema" said Cllr Barker.

Whilst recognising Woking Council owns the lease, and may be able to attract a higher rent from ATG in future, this is by no means guaranteed income and would take some time to recoup the costs.