Daily Post: Prestatyn councillor expelled after Scala closure rumours

A LEADING councillor has been sacked from her cabinet post over “misleading rumours” that a cinema would close.

Cllr Rhiannon Hughes is accused of making no effort to correct untrue speculation over the future of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre in Prestatyn.

Denbighshire council leader Hugh Evans said she had undermined his position and last week removed her from her job as cabinet member for customers and communities.

Cllr Evans said: “Despite my personal and public assurance to Cllr Hughes regarding mine and the council’s commitment to the future of the Scala, she has not made any effort to correct the misleading and misinformed rumours. This has not only undermined my position, but damages the reputation of the council.”

“This is not the action I would expect from a lead member for customers and communities, or any member of the cabinet. Indeed the code of conduct requires that members do not conduct themselves in a manner which could be regarded as bringing their office or authority into disrepute.”

Cllr Hughes said she accepts Denbighshire’s decision – although she does not agree with it.

“It is very difficult. I have worked for years with the community on this project,” she said.

“I issued a joint press release with the leader but he feels I should have done more to assure the community of the future of the Scala. I cannot say things for certain unless I know exactly what the future is going to be.”

Denbighshire Council refused to make any further comment.

Fears have been growing in Prestatyn over the future of the £3.5m 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.

It is Wales’ first all-digital cinema and is able to screen live performances from the National Theatre, Royal Opera House and New York Met.

Residents of Prestatyn staged a demonstration last week as the Scala Centre’s board met to discuss savings.

Following the meeting Sandra Pitt, chair of the Friends of the Scala committee, said:

“It was decided a financial plan should be adopted which should save about £40,000 a year, which it is hoped should not impact on the Scala’s customers.”

Source: Daily Post news article