COUNCIL bosses have denied they are planning to shut a £3.5m arts centre as speculation mounts over its future.
Residents of Prestatyn staged a demonstration on Tuesday as the Scala Centre’s board met to discuss savings.
They fear Denbighshire County Council is prepared to ditch the arts centre, which received an £86,000 bail-out in May.
The original Scala cinema opened in 1913 and closed in 2000 but following a vigorous local campaign it reopened in February, 2009, as a state-of-the-art cinema and arts centre.
Wales’s first all-digital cinema, it is able to screen live stage performances from the National Theatre, Royal Opera House and New York Met.
Only last week at the Guildhall in London the Scala was awarded the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ international award for community benefit, beating other schemes from Australia, Malawi, Algiers and Scotland.
Simon Pott, chairman of the judging panel, said:
“This is an extraordinary example of how the passion of local residents can help drive a project through to completion.”
“After a nine-year struggle, the local community of Prestatyn is finally able to enjoy the superb facilities of this engaging cinema and arts centre.”
Sandra Pitt, chairman of Friends of the Scala, said:
“The Friends of the Scala and the people of Prestatyn have worked tirelessly for the last 10 years and the result has been the creation of this brilliant new building,” she said.
Over the first six months of this year attendances were up 13% over the same period last year.
“Yet there are real fears that all this is going to be thrown away,” she said.
The Scala, she added, was an entertainment centre not only for Prestatyn but for the whole of North Wales and visitors to the area.
“The Welsh are a cultured people who have always appreciated the arts, and we do not want Prestatyn to become yet another dull town with no cultural facilities,” she added.
County Council leader Hugh Evans said he was very concerned about the “rumours and misinformation” circulating in the area.
“The council is one of the Scala’s key funding partners and the authority is investing a lot of time and effort in helping the Scala to develop as a key centre for the culture, arts and community in the Prestatyn area,” he said.
“The council sees the Scala as a very important facility for both the people of Prestatyn and the county as a whole. We will continue to provide advice and assistance to the Scala, working with the Board to move the business forward.”
Cllr Rhiannon Hughes, chairman of the Scala management board, said:
“We will not be looking at stopping any of the events which the public have enjoyed since the Scala opened.”
Source: Daily Post News Article –Updated