Could funding be final piece in Picture House jigsaw?

Cinema trustee in suit

Paul Hawthorne - Credit: Submitted

Torbay Council has agreed to submit an expression of interest, on behalf of a partnership of organisations to seek Cultural Development Fund investment that will see the Paignton Picture House ambitions through to completion. 

If successful, the investment will be used alongside the £1.28 million already committed from the Future High Streets Fund to complete the capital works for the historic landmark, which is also one of Europe’s earliest purpose-built cinemas. 

The vital funding will allow for the repurposed Paignton Picture House to be a flexible mixed-use space, providing both 35mm and digital projection; community events; public access and engagement with the archive; celebrating local film heritage; and providing income generation through a catering offer that complements the surrounding area. 

As part of the project, the partnership organisations will also be undertaking audience development work to ensure those living in Torbay and beyond become more involved in culture and heritage, as well as developing skills development opportunities with South Devon College. 

Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, Torbay Council, said; “Although it will be very competitive, we believe the Paignton Picture House proposals meet the aims and outcomes well and has great potential to give Paignton’s regeneration a major boost."

Cllr Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, Torbay Council, said; “In December 2020, Paignton received £13.36m Future High Streets Funding to kick start the exciting transformation of Paignton town centre. This funding combined with Cultural Development Fund investment will not only enhance Paignton’s cultural offer but will create greater diversity of the use of the town centre,."

Paul Hawthorne, Chair, Paignton Picture House Trust, said; “The Trust are delighted to be working in partnership with Torbay Council, TDA, Torbay Culture and other key partners to submit this expression of interest. The Picture House is a special place, for its heritage value, and the significant place it holds in the hearts of those who know it."

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If the Paignton Picture House expression of interest meets the CDF criteria, Torbay Council and its partners will be invited to make a full bid by October, with outcomes delivered between 2022 and 2025.