DCC: Statement on the Scala

Denbighshire County Council has been made aware of the decision by the Board of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre to close its doors to the public.

Councillor Huw Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Youth, said: “We understand that efforts by the Board to secure a rescue package have been unsuccessful to date and that they are now making one final attempt at finding money to cover their debts.

“While this is sad news for the current company, the Council remains committed to the continuation of a cinema in Prestatyn, as we recognise its importance to the people of Prestatyn and its contribution to the local economy.

“Over recent years the Council has provided extensive support to the Scala company. Yet, despite this, their financial position has continued to deteriorate.

“The on-going uncertainty of the future of the company running the Scala has been of great cause for concern for some time and it looks as if the doors may be closed for a while. My worry is that this uncertainty may be damaging for the future planning for the cinema.

“If it turns out that the Scala Board’s final rescue attempt is unsuccessful, we will do our best to find an alternative provider”.

Source: Statement posted via Denbighshire County Council website 08.01.15

Rhyl Journal: Prestatyn’s Scala Cinema closes its doors but puts hope in new campaign

A PRESTATYN community cinema has shut its doors. 

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.

Trust members of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre confirmed that the venue closed this morning (Thursday) and will only re-open if funds are found.

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

Further problems surfaced when it was revealed that the Scala was late with its November wages payment – putting the cinema three months in arrears.

Trust members have said that they intend to launch a final campaign to save the resource next week – more details are set to be revealed soon.

Trust Members have said that they “would be grateful to hear from local businesses or individuals who recognise its value and potential and are interested in becoming involved and associated with this respected venue.”

Rhiannon Hughes, Chair of the Scala Trust, said: “It is awfully sad. The building has been flooded already with people getting upset – the Scala is a massive part of the community.

“We haven’t given up hope though. The Trust had to close the Cinema and it will remain closed for now but we will be launching a final campaign next week and will aim to get the doors re-opened if we can.

“Now we have had to close the Cinema we hope that people will be more aware that we do need help. The Scala Trust is committed to re opening the Scala if at all possible but cannot do this on its own. Urgent assistance is required.

“I would like to thank the small team of staff who have worked so hard not only with the public but all the behind the scenes and the many unpaid hours worked to make the venue a success.

“I would also like to thank the many volunteers who have supported the staff in making this wonderful venue such a welcoming and friendly place to visit.”

Chris Bond, general manager, added:

“We would like to apologise to all our customers and community groups who will be inconvenienced by this closure. ”

“Whilst we are doing everything we can to secure the Scala’s long term future, this now looks very uncertain. We are all very proud of what has been achieved to date and sincerely hope this will be allowed to continue.”

The Scala opened in February 2009 with a remit from the Council for delivering an educational and community programme as well as being a cinema.

In a statement, councillor Paul Penlington said:

“We are meeting with county officers as a matter of urgency to find a way to open the Scala again as soon as possible.”

“Our town and county Councilors have worked hard to ensure other important facilities in Prestatyn are re-furbished and opened again so hopefully we can do it once more and find a way to keep a long standing landmark at the heart of our community that won’t place any additional financial burdens on our ratepayers.”

Councillor Huw Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Youth, said:

“We understand that efforts by the Board to secure a rescue package have been unsuccessful to date and that they are now making one final attempt at finding money to cover their debts.”

“While this is sad news for the current company, the Council remains committed to the continuation of a cinema in Prestatyn, as we recognise its importance to the people of Prestatyn and its contribution to the local economy.”

“The on-going uncertainty of the future of the company running the Scala has been of great cause for concern for some time and it looks as if the doors may be closed for a while. My worry is that this uncertainty may be damaging for the future planning for the cinema.”

“If it turns out that the Scala Board’s final rescue attempt is unsuccessful, we will do our best to find an alternative provider.”

Source: Rhyl Journal News Article 08.01.15 by Suzanne Jordan

Daily Post: Prestatyn Scala’s business plan ‘was wrong from start’

Chair of trust says cinema was never properly funded, but hopes to reopen with Welsh Government support.

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

The business plan behind the crisis-hit Scala cinema was wrong from the start, says a former board member.

The business plan behind the crisis-hit Scala cinema was wrong from the start, says a former board member.

As the Prestatyn cinema closed today amid “desperate” cash problems, Cllr Huw Jones, who is also Denbighshire’s lead member for tourism, leisure and youth, said those running the venue had failed to “capture the market”.

But the chair of the Scala says the centre never had sufficient financial support to get started, and hopes to have the doors open with Welsh Government help by the end of the month.

Supporters of the Scala made a last-ditch plea for help today in a “final attempt” to save it. The Scala Trust was told in October that it would be losing its funding from Denbighshire council this year.

Cllr Jones said: “I used to be on the Scala board years ago to try and help them turn things around, and when it was first opened I don’t think their business plan was right then.

“The people of Prestatyn have ben very supportive of it, but they haven’t captured the market right.

“It’s a very valuable asset to the town, and we are committed as Denbighshire County Council to keeping the place open.”

While the Scala Trust hope to continue running the cinema, Cllr Jones says the council is already looking at a possible future for the centre without the existing trust.

He said: “We bent over backwards to try to help them, but the business plan didn’t quite work out, did it?

“We’re pursuing other avenues to keep the provision open in Prestatyn.

“They’re still working on a rescue plan and hopefully that might work out, but it’s a bit of a sad situation.

“The ongoing uncertainty of the future of the company running the Scala has been of great cause for concern for some time, and it looks as if the doors may be closed for a while.

“My worry is that this uncertainty may be damaging for the future planning for the cinema.

“If it turns out that the Scala board’s final rescue attempt is unsuccessful, we will do our best to find an alternative provider.”

Rhiannon Wyn Hughes, who chairs the Scala Trust, said: “It’s never been properly funded since the building was built.

“Places need a bit of support at the beginning and that hasn’t been there. We’ve brought in a lot of funding, but it hasn’t been enough.

“We’ve made staff redundant this morning. There were only five left, but it’s very upsetting. They’ve all really committed to the place. There have been a lot of tears.

“We’ve closed the door, but that means the trust is still in control of the building, so we’ll spend two to three weeks trying to put together a financial package.

“We want to clear a lot of creditors and start with some money in the bank, which we haven’t really had before.

“We want to stop lurching from crisis to crisis, which we have done for the last six years. That’s not a way to run a business.”

Denbighshire County Council have loaned the Scala £80,000 on a long-term basis, given them a grant of £40,000 each year, and covered their wage bill for two months, although the grant was set to be withdrawn in April.

Ms Hughes said: “The council have taken all our money away, but the Welsh Government have been great. They’ve been working with us, and we’ve welcomed their support.

“We want to clear our debt to the council. We owe them this loan which we have five years to pay.

“The council have a lot to lose if we don’t reopen. £140,000 is a lot of public money, which is why we feel so strongly about reopening.

“There’s also £40,000 outstanding to other creditors, and we’ve tried to make sure individual traders are paid.”

Source: Daily Post News Article 08.01.15 by Josh Morris

BBC News Wales: Scala Cinema shuts doors amid uncertain future

A cinema and arts centre in Denbighshire has closed its doors and may not reopen unless funds are found to secure its future.

The Scala was given a £3.5m facelift when it reopened its doors in 2009 after closing in 2000. (Credit BBC)
The Scala was given a £3.5m facelift when it reopened its doors in 2009 after closing in 2000. (Credit BBC)

Last month bosses at the Scala in Prestatyn learned they would lose a £40,000 subsidy from next April.

It marked the end of a difficult year in which visitors numbers fell due to the summer weather and staff were cut.

The Scala was given a £3.5m facelift when it reopened its doors in 2009 after closing in 2000.

“Urgent assistance is required,” said Rhiannon Hughes, chair of the Scala Trust which helps to run the venue.

She said funding the running costs has always been an issue since it reopened six years with Denbighshire council as the building’s owner.

Five staff have been made redundant.

Scala supporters held a protest in December before the council cutbacks (Credit: BBC News)
Scala supporters held a protest in December before the council cutbacks (Credit: BBC News)

Councillor Huw Jones, cabinet lead member for tourism, leisure and youth, said the council was committed to keeping a cinema in the town and had repeatedly tried to help the trust.

Pressure mounted on the Scala in October when it struggled to meet a £20,000 credit agreement with the county council to cover staff wages.

It also gave the Scala a loan of £86,000 in 2010 without setting a repayment date.

In December, Denbighshire councillors agreed to £17m in funding cuts affecting council services and subsidies paid to groups, including the venue.

Source: BBC Wales News Article 08.01.15

 

Daily Post: Prestatyn Scala cinema to close today

Campaigners say they are still committed to reopening the digital cinema and arts centre.

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

A last-ditch plea for help was made by supporters of a cinema who have had to shut it from today.

The final curtain is being drawn at the Scala cinema in Prestatyn by the Scala Trust who have made a final attempt to save it.

The Scala closed in 2000 but re-opened in February 2009 after a £3.5m facelift as Wales first all digital cinema and arts centre iand was a project to help regenerate Prestatyn.

It succeeded in bringing in between 80,000 and 100,000 people through its doors and on to Prestatyn High Street each year.

Trust chair Rhiannon Hughes the Scala was in desperate need of cash to restructure and appealed to local businesses or individuals to get involved to re-open it.

Mrs Hughes said: “The Scala Trust is committed to re opening the Scala if at all possible but cannot do this on its own. Urgent assistance is required. I would like to thank the small team of staff who have worked so hard not only with the public but all the behind the scenes and the many unpaid hours worked to make the venue a success. I would also like to thank the many volunteers who have supported the staff in making this wonderful venue such a welcoming and friendly place to visit.”

It received funding from Denbighshire County Council with a remit to deliver an educational and community programme as well as being a cinema.

This was recognised when the Scala won the prestigious Royal Institute Chartered Surveyors (RICS) International award for its community work bringing this award to Wales for the first time.

The Trust was told in October last year that it would be losing its funding from Denbighshire council this year.

As well as working at a local community level the Scala has delivered national programmes and worked internationally with young film makers and film providers world-wide.

General manager Chris Bond said: “We would like to apologise to all our customers and community groups who will be inconvenienced by this closure. While we are doing everything we can to secure the Scala’s long term future, this now looks very uncertain. We are all very proud of what has been achieved to date and sincerely hope this will be allowed to continue.”

Source: Daily Post News Article 08.01.15 by Hywel Trewyn. Video courtesy of Daily Post.