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Reporter cinema campaign result

PUBLISHED: 11:18 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:22 23 August 2010

BIG screen cinema is coming back to the town for the first time in five years, after years of campaigning by the Gravesend Reporter and readers. Gravesham Borough Council has plans in place to bring a cinema screen to the Woodville Halls for a four-date

BIG screen cinema is coming back to the town for the first time in five years, after years of campaigning by the Gravesend Reporter and readers.

Gravesham Borough Council has plans in place to bring a cinema screen to the Woodville Halls for a four-date trail.

The scheme was announced after the Reporter campaigned to bring a cinema back to the town following an inferno at the derelict former picture house in King Street, Gravesend.

Called 'Monday Night at the Movies', High School Musical 3 and Quantum of Solace, staring heartthrob Daniel Craig and former Northfleet School for Girls pupil Gemma Arterton, is set to be screened on January 26.

Further screenings are scheduled to be held on February 23, March 23 and

April 27.

David Turner, deputy council leader and cabinet member for leisure, said: "We all know that the demise of the movie theatre left a big hole in the leisure facilities of the town. The council has been investigating the possibility of putting a cinema into the Woodville Halls for several months and I am certain that a trial along these lines is the best way - and the most cost-effective - to test public reaction.

"All the signs are that this is going to be extremely popular. There is nothing like watching a film on the big screen."

If the trail screenings are well attended the council says it will consider buying projection equipment of its own to make the cinema a permanent fixture.

It will show a range of films including recently released blockbusters at a price of £6 for adults and £4 for the under-14s.

News of the plan comes five years after the town's only big screen, the EMD cinema in King Street, was closed for business following a steady decline in customers.

The Reporter launched a campaign to reopen the cinema in October 2005 and Kieron Butler, 15, of St Georges Crescent, Gravesend, collected more than 5,000 signatures in a campaign of his own.

But all hope of a big screen being reinstated in the town faded in January 2006 when the building was burnt down by arsonists.

Mr Butler said: "It's brilliant. This will save going all the way to Bluewater, it costs so much money to get there and now that there's a recession on no one can afford it.

"I'd say to the residents that if you signed my petition then you have to prove to the council that we really want a cinema in the town and also that it is viable to have one."

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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