Stratford Picturehouse will close next January

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Stratford Picturehouse.

STRATFORD Picturehouse will close next January.

A statement released by the Picturehouse reads: “It is with great sadness that we announce the closure of the Stratford-Upon-Avon Picturehouse. The Cinema will cease trading on the evening of Sunday 5th January 2020. It has been our pleasure to serve the community of Stratford-Upon-Avon since 1997 and we greatly appreciate the patronage and support that the people of this wonderful town have given us.

We would like to sincerely thank our loyal customers and Members for the many years of support and enthusiasm they have brought to the cinema.”

Former Stratford Mayor, Cyril Bennis, who led the campaign for a community cinema in 1997 said he was: “devastated” when he heard the news.

“I cried when I found out. This was a community effort and community cinema. The staff are magnificent. I never dreamt this would happen. It was pure and total madness to allow a second cinema to open in town with no justification.”

It’s understood the lease on the Picturehouse expires in 2020.

  • Peter A Cox

    One has to wonder what led to the decision to close this particular cinema in the chain of other Picture Houses. Could the lease not have been renewed? Or has another offer been more attractive to the owners of the site?

    • KJ

      It’s due to be an eighty one bedroom Travelodge hotel. Bigger than the current Picture House building.
      Another Travelodge in tiny Stratford. Who needs an Art Deco building in their town? Stratford Council have decided they don’t.

      • MintyT

        Stratford council could do nothing under law. They can’t be blamed. Their hands are tied by planning laws weighted heavily in favour of landlords. Vote tory get rich rule.

        • Big Jim and The Twins

          The fact that there are listed houses a handful of metres away and that its a tiny traffic congested street where people have to walk in the road to pass each other because the pavements are so narrow , should have been enough. The council have been sly in their long term planning of letting the demolition of such an iconic building to go ahead .

          • MintyT

            All was checked and found within legal bounds. If they refused on those grounds he would have appealed and still got it. I read the application. No one protested this when it went in. It’s only now it’s happened. Where were you then? It’s all too late now.

          • Big Jim and The Twins

            Did you know about it?

        • KJ

          They can be blamed. No Everyman cinema and the Picture House wouldn’t be binned. Bell Court has pictures of the proposed plans for the Debenhams hotel and they are pinned up for all to see, and in plenty of time for public discussion. I didn’t see any such openness for the PH development.

          • MintyT

            If theyd have blocked Everyman on the grounds of the PH existing they would have broken competition laws. Its not a valid reason to reject and against the law. Welcome to tory Britain. Made for businessed and landlords.

    • MintyT

      Landlord brought out the lease under the contract. No one could have stopped it. All on him.

  • Big Jim and The Twins
  • Big Jim and The Twins

    Knocking down the Picture House should not have be an option. What’s wrong with the planning dept at Stratford District Council?for example the Arden Quarter is an unoccupied eyesore, and they’re up for demolishing an Art Deco building even though residents want it to be saved. BHS as a hotel sounds better.

    • 1jamessmith1

      Only an impulse thought, as a concept. In the belief that the Picture house is to become a hotel, as is BHS and Debenhams, why couldn’t Picture house be part of BHS or Debenhams when they change?

    • imustbeoldiwearacap

      You are so right – the Arden Quarter is an ugly blot on the landscape with no redeeming features. I pity anyone who buys – there’s no light and the height of the buildings form a natural wind tunnel – I cycle to the station and nearly get blown over!

    • MintyT

      The landlord bought out the lease. Council can’t do anything as they’re bound by regs from central governement and he didn’t give them good enough reason to stop it. All on the landlord.

      • Big Jim and The Twins

        The council could still fight to keep the building for the good of Stratford’s non-Tudor history. It’s a disgrace that demolition was considered to be an option.

        • MintyT

          They had zero legal recourse too. Not many objected at the time. Plus, the landlord would just have appealed to Westminster and his tory buddies would have let him. They’re hands were tied. It’s all on the landlord. Not sure what else they could have done within the realms of there jobs. This is all one greedy man.

  • imustbeoldiwearacap

    I guess when Everyman opened it signalled bad times ahead for The Picture House – a town the size of Stratford Upon Avon is too small for 2 cinemas (even with the tourists). With the landlord determined to get his hotel – then that’s the end. I’ll miss the Silver Screenings and the friendly welcome you always get!

  • KJ

    Can everyone please sign and share the petition on change.org to stop the council from allowing the building to be be demolished!

    https://www.change.org/p/stratford-on-avon-district-council-save-the-picture-house

    • MintyT

      To late I’m afraid. He got permission 2 years ago.

      • KJ

        *Too

        Sign it anyway as a protest vote.
        The fact that the council blatantly ignore the wishes of the community and seem set on turning Stratford into a mini city, is epitomised by the decision to destroy part of the Picture House building and give this small Tudor market town its second Travelodge budget hotel.
        Increasing the number of hotels, and coffee shops in the town centre, promoting and favouring the market and mop over its business rate paying shop owners is destructive. Who is gaining from the destruction of the very few Art Deco buildings in the area? Not even the guests of the new Travelodge, who won’t even have a view out of their windows. Because of planning laws grey windows will be used to prevent guests from viewing the neighbouring residential properties. They won’t be able to see out, Stratford loses a unique building and residents have a four-storey Travelodge squashed into one of the narrowest streets in town. A huge hotel on tiny Windsor Street that already houses 3 car parks and a coach park.
        The council were less than transparent when making the very significant decision to discard the Picture House building.

        • MintyT

          The contracts are signed. The payment has been made. Unless a law is presented at central goverment nothing can legally change.

          • KJ

            It’s never too late to make a big noise about this prime example of the council not working for the good of the town or its contents.

          • MintyT

            Nothing to do with the council. They had zero legal recourse to stop this. The law backs the landlords and not the people. This is what you get with torys. And this is a tory town. They’ve got what they wanted.

          • Big Jim and The Twins

            They could have refused the planning application.

          • MintyT

            Under what legal grounds? Where were all these protest when the application was at consultancy stage?

          • Big Jim and The Twins

            The consultancy stage was as hush hush as possible. Before anyone knew it had started it was a done deal.
            Why didn’t the council make any noise about it, informing everyone and make sure it was common knowledge that the building could be demolished??
            Look at the planning application on SDC eplanning website. Historic England objected and were ignored by the council.. and the plans seem to show that lorries delivering to the hotel are going to park on the footpath. Er…

          • MintyT

            It was literally all over this paper and facebook for months. How did you miss it? That’s not the planning dept job. The local residents were made aware. This went the same as any other planning decision. Fact is if you want the council to be able to do that legislation changes need making at central government. Have you spoken to our tory mp? Hes not interested. Look. I’m literally losing my job over this. It’s not the councils fault. As it’s not a listed building or even really that old, historic England didnt really have much influence. People should have objected at the time. The fault lays with one person.

          • Big Jim and The Twins

            The council can pass or refuse planning decisions.

          • MintyT

            And, again. They had zero ground to reject it. Only 7 people objected. It was all over local news. Can’t actually believe people missed it.

  • Sirpc

    SDC are totally inept, and repeatedly put stock in the awful Bell Court development, of which the Everyman Cinema was the first and key anchor customer. As soon as they took that decision they sealed the fate of the Picture house. it was very simply a hateful action by self interested, self serving councillors who will never be held to account for their actions.
    Since Bell Court and the Everyman opening, sadly the Picturehouse has been on a downward spiral. Despite my and others avid patronage, we appear to not to be able to save it.

    • MintyT

      Nothing to do with Everyman or the council. All on the landlord buying out the lease. PH has actually been doing fine and not on any sort of spiral.

      Council are bound by regs from Westminster and couldn’t find a reason under them to stop it. All on one person. The landlord. He brought out the lease.

      • Flippsie

        Yes the landlord is to blame, but a reason to stymie his plans would have been that they would have left Stratford without a cinema. As soon as the council approved the Everyman (Which is awful) that argument was lost. So the council are at the very least, complicit in the downfall of the Picturehouse. However, having heard the rumours, I enquired with the Picturehouse, about whether it would be worth renewing my membership and I was told it would not be closing. You can still go to their website and purchase membership with Stratford upon Avon as your ‘home’ cinema. Pretty outrageous.

        • MintyT

          We’re working on that. We’ve still got a bit to do. I work there. This decision had zero to do with Everyman. We both operate fine next to each other. I blame no one but a greedy landlord backed by rules and regs made to ensure landlords profit.

  • Big Jim and The Twins

    Is this photo meant to be unflattering? Strange choice.