Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Regal Cinema: Fordingbridge cinema screens first film for 52 years

Regal Cinema Image copyright Google
Image caption 'Casablanca' will be the first film screened at the cinema since 1965

An art deco cinema has opened its doors to the public for the first time in 52 years.

The Regal Cinema in Fordingbridge, Hampshire operated from 1933 until its closure in 1965.

Electronics firm Corintech reduced the 290-seat auditorium to 30 seats, converting the rest of the building into flats for its employees.

'Casablanca' will be the first film screened on Friday.

New Forest District Council said it welcomed the re-use of a property which was in "poor condition" after lying vacant for four years.

Image copyright Regal Cinema
Image caption The auditorium has been reduced from 290 seats to 30

Approving the cinema application in September, the authority said some jobs would be retained on the site, which was previously occupied by the firm Branksome China until 2012.

Corintech chairman Brian Currie said £1.5m project had "stirred up latent desire" for a cinema in Fordingbridge.

He said the art deco building had been sympathetically restored, with a foyer close to the original 1930s design.

Image copyright Regal Cinema
Image caption New Forest District Council said the building had deteriorated after lying vacant for four years

The cinema's operators, Fordingbridge Regal Cinema Club said they will show "a variety of classic, modern and recent films from a range of genres."

Corintech had told the council it needed the eight studio flats to allow it to recruit engineers in an area where accommodation costs were high.

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