Cinema demonstrators lobby councillors

A DEMONSTRATION against the decision to scrap plans to convert a loss-making theatre into a cinema greeted councillors outside St Albans Civic Offices last night.

It was organised by local Lib Dems prior to the issue being raised at full council in a bid to persuade councillors to push ahead with the cinema scheme for the Maltings Arts Theatre proposed by the previous administration.

But their efforts were in vain - after a heated debate councillors voted against converting the theatre into a digital cinema with some live performances, in favour of talking with local arts groups for suggestions about its future use.

Nick Sutton, chair of St Albans and District Liberal Youth who organised the demo, said: “I believe strongly that this scheme, alongside the proposed Odyssey Cinema on London Road, could really begin to solve some of the problems that the city’s young people face in terms of finding entertainment.

“If we were able to have a ‘provide more social outlets for young people.”

He added: “The district council will still have the problem of a loss-making theatre, even with this decision. In 2009, the theatre lost nearly �150,000. The council must do something to address this and it is clear from today they have no intention to.”