Bosses knew film theatre was struggling

IPSWICH: Borough bosses knew the town's film theatre was in trouble months before its operators pulled the plug on the Corn Exchange venue, it emerged today.

IPSWICH: Borough bosses knew the town's film theatre was in trouble months before its operators pulled the plug on the Corn Exchange venue, it emerged today.

But leisure chiefs did nothing publicly to try to make the commercial venture more successful before Hollywood announced it would close last month.

Hollywood pulled out from the start of this month, announcing its departure at the beginning of September.

However, it has now emerged that a letter warning that the firm was struggling to make a go of the film theatre was sent to the borough almost a year ago.

There was no request for council help in the letter which was sent in November last year - but now opposition councillors have called for a debate on the closure.

Labour leisure spokeswoman Bryony Rudkin said: “We heard about this letter at a scrutiny meeting when the closure of the film theatre was discussed.

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“Hollywood did not ask for council help at that stage - but it did point out that there were serious concerns about the film theatre so the announcement by Hollywood cannot have come as a surprise.”

She said she had now secured a debate on how the council handles risk at the next executive meeting - an issue that will be especially significant following the sudden closure of the Crown Car Park.

“You have to have a risk management plan. When Copleston school was hit by fire there was a plan put into action.

“The closure of the film theatre should not have come as a surprise and there should have been a contingency plan in place.”

Borough leader Liz Harsant said she had not been aware of all the issues surrounding the closure, but knew that behind the scenes council officials had been working with Hollywood management.

“In the end you have to say the audience needs to be considered - there just were not the people coming through the doors,” she said.

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