Daily Post: Scala Cinema looks to Welsh Government for salvation

Closure threatened Prestatyn arts centre hopeful that ministers could save it from the axe

A crisis hit arts centre is looking to the Welsh Government to save it from closure.

Scala Cinema, Prestatyn
Scala Cinema, Prestatyn (Credit: Daily Post)

A statement from Prestatyn’s Scala Cinema trustees said:

“The Scala is in touch with the Assembly working with Ann Jones AM who has been speaking with ministers and civil servants who have responded positively.”

“The Assembly was the biggest contributor to the Scala building which was then seen as an important first step to the town’s recovery and regeneration.”

The people of Prestatyn have come out in support of Scala cinema after it was revealed it could close last month.

The beleaguered cinema and arts centre is under threat due to a loss of council funding. A desperate Save Our Scala appeal was launched to raise the £97,000 reportedly needed to keep the centre open in the long term with renowned celebrities also calling on the venue to be saved.

The Scala have also said this week that they will be “meeting various agencies and potential sponsors this week.

Source: Daily Post News Article 18.11.14 by Alex Hickley. Videos courtesy of Daily Post

Rhyl Journal: Prestatyn cinema to host Sci-Fi festival this weekend

A photo of Chris Bond outside the Prestatyn Scala Cinema (Credit Rhyl Journal).
Rhiannon Hughes and Chris Bond outside the Prestatyn Scala Cinema (Credit Rhyl Journal).

The Prestatyn Scala is hosting the BFI Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder Festival this weekend.

As part of a three-month celebration of film and television, the cinema will screen Metropolis, the 1953 version of War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Alien and Serenity over the weekend of November 8 and 9.

Chris Bond, general manager of the Scala, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the BFI and Hana Lewis Film Hub Wales to put on the Scala’s first scifi festival. We know there are many sci-fi fans in the town and we hope that they will come and enjoy the films and activities in the festival. If the festival is a success, we can make this festival an annual event. This is a superb chance to catch these films in digital quality and on the big screen.”

“We aren’t just having films, during the weekend we will be having quizzes, a display of sci-fi memorabilia, interval talks by special guest speakers and scifi costumes.”

Locally made short Turn On by Salt Poolfilms will also be screened during the festival.

All tickets are at a special price of £4.50, with £4 concessions, per screening.

For more information visit http://www.scalaprestatyn.co.uk or telephone 01745 850197.

Source: Rhyl Journal Article 06.11.14 by Matt Jones

Daily Post: Denbighshire Council says it can longer afford to pay Scala cinema’s wage bill without discussions

Management accused of keeping authority in dark over its financial position which it owes £60,000 in wage debts and £80,000 one-off loan.

Scala Cinema, Prestatyn
Scala Cinema, Prestatyn (Credit: Daily Post)

Council chiefs say they could stop paying a troubled cinemas wage bill if the management doesn’t discuss its financial position with them.

Denbighshire County Council says the Scala cinema and arts centre in Prestatyn owes the authority £60,000 in wage debts, as well as £80,000 of a one-off loan.

At present, the council administers the Scala’s payroll, and also provides them with two months leeway on their payroll payments, which amount to £20,000 a month. But the council says it cant continue to make up the shortfall if they don’t sit down to talk.

Councillor Huw Jones, cabinet lead member for leisure, said:

“Its very difficult, they’ve had meetings, but the only things I know about it I read in the Daily Post. Its frightening to be honest with you, because if we know the situation they’re in, why cant they ask what we can do, how we can help? At the end of the day, they’ve gone three months. I’m responsible for public money as a councillor, but surely, the third month will turn into the fourth month. What do I do next? Am I going to be the scrooge and say no? Because there’s Christmas coming, and we wont pay their wages, or will I breach my own rules? Unless they come back and explain the situation to us, we’re really in a quandary.”

The council owns the Scala building, but the centre is operated by a separate charitable organisation.

The organisations general manager Chris Bond was approached for comment but declined to do so.

Rebecca Maxwell, Denbighshire’s corporate director for economic and community ambition, said:

“The council cannot continue to put at risk large sums of money to underpin the Scala’s financial deficit. Clearly there’s a limit to how much we can continue to support an independent organisation and still provide best value for residents. We value the facility, but we cant afford to subsidise the company.”

Source: Daily Post 04.11.14 18:03 News article by Josh Harris

Rhyl Journal: Short term future of Prestatyn Scala Cinema secured

THE Prestatyn Scala Cinema and Arts Centre will remain open in the short-term following a make or break meeting of Trustees.

A Rhyl Journal photo showing a demonstration protest outside the Prestatyn Scala cinema.
A Rhyl Journal photo showing a demonstration protest outside the Prestatyn Scala cinema.

Rhiannon Hughes, chair of the Scala Trust, said the site was open and “looking forward to its sci-fi weekend” after a meeting was held on Monday.

Discussions are set to continue over sourcing extra funding and a campaign – Save Our Scala – to help the cinema raise £97,000, has been launched.

Fears over the future of the cinema surfaced last week after Denbighshire County Council said it would be looking to end the cinema’s yearly £41,000 grant in April.

It was later revealed the Scala was facing more immediate problems after it notified the council that it would be late with its November wages payment – putting the cinema three months in arrears.

A public meeting, scheduled for Friday, has been postponed and will be rearranged in a couple of weeks.

The Scala posted on its Facebook page: “We are in the position of being in negotiations and sourcing extra funding and so we have now taken the decision to cancel the Friday meeting.”

Mrs Hughes, said:

“Discussions over funding are ongoing. There is still a lot of work to do but our thanks go out to the many Scala customers and community members who are rallying around and supporting the work that we are doing.”

Cllr Huw Jones, Denbighshire’s cabinet lead member for leisure, said:

“The council has given a lifeline to the Board of Trustees many times. We met frequently with the company over two years to assist them. However we have asked time and time again for information as to how they were going to address their financial situation and the kind of reassurances we expected have not been forthcoming.”

“Despite all our efforts to support the Scala company, it appears to find itself in an unsustainable financial situation.”

Rebecca Maxwell, Corporate Director: Economic and Community Ambition said:

“The council simply cannot continue to put at risk large sums of money to underpin the Scala’s financial deficit.”

Source: Rhyl Journal 04.11.14

 

BBC News: Prestatyn’s Scala set to lose council cash help

The future of a cinema and arts centre in Denbighshire remains uncertain after council officials said they could no longer continue to cover the company’s £20,000 monthly wage bill.

The Scala in Prestatyn owes £60,000 to Denbighshire council as it has missed three months of payments.

The authority said it is considering ending the payroll agreement to stop putting “at risk large sums of public money”.

Cinema bosses have refused to comment.

The Scala was given a £3.5m facelift when it opened its doors again after closing in 2000.

A photo of the Prestatyn Scala 2009.
The Scala was given a £3.5m facelift when it reopened its doors 2009 (Credit: BBC news)

Last week, general manager Chris Bond said takings had been hit as the good summer weather kept people away.

The venue’s trust board has been seeking specialist financial advice about how to change its fortunes.

Under a credit agreement with the county council, the authority pays the venue’s wages and the venue repays that money to the council. It is those payments which are now three months in arrears.

However, in 2010 the council gave the cinema and arts venue an £86,000 bail-out loan to cover a deficit and has yet to request repayment.

“The council can simply not continue to put at risk large sums of public money to underpin the Scala’s financial deficit,” said Rebecca Maxwell, Denbighshire council’s corporate director economic and community ambition.

Councillor Huw Jones, Denbighshire’s cabinet lead member for leisure, said:

“Despite all our efforts to support the Scala company, it appears to find itself in an unsustainable financial situation.”

He said the authority has been “fully supportive of the Scala as an arts and cinema facility for the local community for many years” by helping with the payroll, providing a subsidy, assisting with marketing the venue and having a senior council member sit on the venue’s board of trustees.”

“We have asked time and time again for information from the board as to how they were going to address their financial situation and the kind of reassurances we expected have not been forthcoming,” he said.

Source: BBC News article 04.11.14