Cumbria

Penrith's Lonsdale cinema saved from threat of closure

Lonsdale Cinema in Penrith
Image caption The cinema has been described as a "community asset"

A 100-year-old Cumbrian cinema which was facing closure has been saved following a public campaign.

The owner of the Lonsdale Alhambra cinema in Penrith announced in January that the lease would not be renewed.

The cinema was doing well but the attached bingo hall was failing and Graves (Cumberland) Ltd wanted to shut both and rent out the whole building.

This sparked a public campaign, but it has now been agreed that the lease will be extended by 10 years.

Campaigners were attempting to raise £750,000 to buy the building to run as a co-operative, with thousands of cinema-goers asked to invest £150 each.

A petition also attracted thousands of signatures, including those of actor Richard E Grant and comedian Eddie Izzard.

Vince Hughes, from Graves (Cumberland) Ltd, said: "Following the overwhelming campaign led by the Save Penrith Cinema Group and the community of Penrith we are now hopeful that there are other opportunities for the site and can see a future for the building which will include encompassing a cinema for a long, long time to come."

The company is now searching for a tenant for the bingo hall space.

Ruth Parker, chairwoman of Save Penrith Cinema, said the campaign group was "absolutely delighted" with the outcome, and thanked supporters.

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