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  • Bijou cinema proposal goes before planners

    Ollie Cowan

    PLANS have finally been submitted to transform a former Southport bar into a community cinema.

    Michael Lockwood has been campaigning for a community cinema in Southport for many years but has struggled to find a suitable location – until now.

    If planning permission is granted by Sefton Council bosses next month, Michael may finally realise his dream, as he plans to open a community movie venue at the former Latin Lounge bar on Post Office Avenue.

    Earlier this year he struck a deal to buy the former Latin Lounge bar and restaurant on Post Office Avenue and now plans to transform it into a fifty seater auditorium.

    He plans to charge £5 for screenings.

    Speaking to the Champion Michael said: “After much searching and decision making, I decided to purchase the former Latin Lounge last November as it was up for auction at a good price.

    “The rooms are ideal for what we want to do. It’s air-conditioned and it’s just off Lord Street. We hope to open later this year. 

    “I've just applied to set up a Community Interest Company and the project will be volunteer-led and not-for-profit. There are some repairs and alterations to make inside although we want to keep the art-deco feel of the old cinemas.

    “We’re naming it ‘Southport Bijou Cinema’ and it will open from 10am to 11pm.

    “Subject to planning and licensing, the intention is to keep the cafe/bar area serving coffee, tea and cake plus wine and bottled beer to the general public.

    “Upstairs will be a 50 seater raked auditorium for films and live performances. We will show old and new films from classics to independent cinema so that north Sefton will have more film choice without travelling to Liverpool and Manchester.”

    Michael is confident that Sefton will approve the plans.

    In his statement to planning bosses he said: “Southport has demonstrated a historic passion for cinema, evident by the number of picture houses the resort has produced over the past 100 years.

    “The new cinema use proposed at 8 Post Office Avenue therefore relates ad infinitum to the historical picture house uses of the town's built fabric.”

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