A CAMPAIGN has been launched to try to force the local authority owner of a seafront cinema to invest cash in preserving its future as plans for a multiplex cinema for the town are revealed.

The Regent Cinema, build in 1928 at the entrance to the Coatham pier in Redar, has been neglected for years by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, according to the residents fighting to preserve the dilapidated building.

Members of the ‘Save the Regent Cinema’ group have raised concerns about its future despite the council’s £75m pound investment in the seafront regeneration of the town, including the building of the Redcar Beacon.

However, the council maintains it is the leaseholder’s responsibility to look after the fixtures and fittings and the authority is responsible for structural problems.

The campaign is being run by local resident Natalie King and community activist Jessie-Joe Jacobs, with the support of Redcar’s Labour candidate Anna Turley.

Ms King said: “It's almost as if this building is being deliberately left in such a bad state of repair that public support sways to pulling it down in the next few years. There is no canopy any more so the cinema can't even advertise what's being shown. It often looks derelict.

“Perhaps people don't realise it's a council owned building. Why aren't they doing it up? If something isn't done we will lose yet another iconic building in Redcar.”

Neil Bates’ family has run the cinema since they took over the day to day running in 1982.

He said: “I am really proud that we continue to run a good local cinema here at the Regent. In the face of big competition from multiplexes, we run a friendly, seafront cinema which still has its original charm.”

Councillor Norman Pickthall, the council’s cabinet member for corporate resources, defended the council’s stance.

He said: “The council is considering how it might improve the external appearance of the building after £2m was set aside for public realm improvements, across the borough.

“However, the leaseholder is responsible for the decorative order of the building, internally and externally, and would need to make some contribution.”

Councillor Pickthall said a bid for a multi leisure development on the Redcar Bowl site has been accepted.

A public meeting has been arranged for anyone interested in supporting the campaign at 5pm on Tuesday, May 12.

People can find out more at their facebook site ‘Save the Regent Cinema’ or contact Natalie on 07900-591925 or email savetheregent@hotmail.com