Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Save the Carlton Cinema

You may have read in this week’s Thanet Times and Your Thanet, the news that the parent company behind Westgate’s Carlton Cinema, RealTime Cinemas, has gone into administration.

A local landmark since 1910, the Carlton represents an important piece of local entertainment history which has fond memories for many generations of Thanet residents, me included.

The important thing to be aware of first is that the cinema remains open while the administrator, Mark Goldstein looks for interested parties who may wish to acquire it as a going concern and welcomes sensible offers. If the story that Thanet has more millionaires per square mile than anywhere else in Kent, than perhaps one of these might be attracted by a bargain philanthropic opportunity in the cinema business. Eastcliff Richard perhaps?

As a concerned local councillor, I met with Mr Goldstein this afternoon and while these are difficult times, there is always hope that a local gem, such as the Carlton can be saved for future generations; after all, most recently, impresario, Kevin Crace stepped in to save the Westgate Pavillion which had an uncertain future.

I have one request for any reader that wishes to help to save the Carlton and that is, to please use it. It’s only to be expected that in a recession people cut back from the luxuries of eating out and going to the cinema but if you can make an effort to support it by going to see a movie in the coming month or so I’m sure that would be a great help in illustrating how much a part of the community it is and as a consequence, how worthwhile it may be as a potential business investment for the future for anyone who might be attracted to the idea.

In the meantime, Mr Goldstein has promised to keep me up-to-speed with the administration and its ultimate direction.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I use this gem of a cinema it would be a real loss if it were to shut. Just one more casualty of Westwood Cross?

Cinemagoer said...

Has anyone asked Frank Thorley or Infratil?

Anonymous said...

Add it to the growing list of businesses and facilities killed by Westwood Cross!

Thanet Observer said...

Well done TDC ! Another thanet business, employing Thanet people, that's been serving the Isle well for decades put to the sword by the Westwood Cross development.

DrMoores said...

I hate to rain on your parade but this has rather more to do with the parent company going into administration in a recession and taking the Carlton with it, than the existence of Westwood Cross.

The Carlton remains open. Please support it if you can.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

Ahhhhhhh but!The carlton has been a splendid place since 1910. WC will never be able to match the romanticism that is old England.
WC is an out & out Business Centre that is only after people's money.
It has no heart, it offers very little enjoyment and is possibly the worst architechtural disaster this side of London.
I watch Canterbury centre daily. Shops are closing (big shops) every week. I asked one Lady why she had had to close shop. She said Rent £80,000 PA Rates nearly £1000 Per WEEK. Yet still we wonder why Margate High Street is virtually Ghosted. If the rent's & Rates are of similar multitudinous amounts to Canterbury, I can understand 'why'.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Reeltime also run/ran the Kavanagh Cinema in Herne Bay and have just closed a third place in Sittingbourne. Tough times for independent cinemas certainly. I would hate to see the Carlton lost as, like many other people, it holds early childhood memories of first time trips to the cinema. Mary Poppins I think it was!

If you do go to the cinemas soon, be sure to buy some drinks or popcorn as this is where the profits are made for the cinemas. The door money merely covers the overheads of renting the films from the distributors.

Ken Gregory said...

I would also point out that business rates are set by central government, and the money goes to them, a proportion of that comes back to local government by way of th rate support grant. (the proportion is shrinking in real terms unless you live in the North East)

Michael Child said...

The problem for anyone trading in the town centres is that with out of town shopping and leisure facilities and the recession the amount of profit that can be made from any site is greatly diminished.

Both rents and business rates can only reflect the profit that can be made, we need urgent political action at both local and national levels to redress this problem. I don’t say this from a retailer’s point of view, but from the point of view of someone who is having my personal environment permanently and irrevocably destroyed. It is not as though we were unaware of what the effects would be as this previously happened in America.

Anonymous said...

Yes 10.49 is spot on. WC is a sad and contemptuous place, no heart, no soul designed for East Berlin in the 1970's, would those in power use it wisely please.

Planespotter said...

With the conversion of the Pub into flats it was only a matter of time before the Cinema went.

It may be down to the current economic climate but Westwood Cross certainly doesn't help.

I wonder what the Council will do once the High Streets of the towns are all boarded up?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

"I wonder what the Council will do once the High Streets of the towns are all boarded up?"

Blame each other.

Was in Margate last Saturday. Like going back 50 years, even the Albion bookshop has closed down and as for Hartsdown ...............

Anonymous said...

The new cinema facilities at Westwood Cross taken away nearly HALF the customers fro the Carlton, however it appears Vue at westwood is losing it attraction for some and they are slowly returning to the cinemas with a more attractive pricing policy and far cheap popcorn and drinks. Use local facilities of lose them - dont complain that its a shame if the last film you saw was The Sound of Music back int eh 1960's

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the lease is on the cinema or is it for sale only.? an anyone provide the details of the agent handling the cinema (contact details please)

DrMoores said...

Try Mark Goldstein the Administrator on 01737 830763

Anonymous said...

Whilst I agree that large multiplexes have probably been very damaging to smaller cinemas, I feel there are two sides to this argument. Until the opening of the vue at Westwood Cross, I had been getting more and more depressed at the state of the local cinemas. My feet stuck to the floor and I felt I might catch fleas from some of the upholstery. Many had not been decorated or improved since I first started visiting them, nearly 30 years ago, and it was blindingly obvious that when the inevitable multiplex did open up at Westwood, these places would quickly lose out. However, the owners seemed oblivious to this and seemed happy leaving the cinemas in a state of "dignified decrepitude" as long as the punters had no where else to go.

Now, I've also lived in Edinburgh on and off for the last decade, and the smaller cinemas there have been far more active on the fight to save their businesses. They know their market, and they know how best to compete with the larger multiplexes and both survive side by side, offering greater choice and value. They realise they cannot compete with the multiplexes wen it comes to massive screens, state of the art technology etc, so they don't. Rather, they focus more on showing the kind of films that the multiplexes pass over, in other words, non-Hollywood films. They also do special features, show old classics, marathon sessions of trilogies and the like, mother and baby showings, midnight shows, and are regularly packed out.

So I believe the burden is on the cinema owners to take a look at what they are selling, and decide where their future sits. Competing with the multiplexes or providing choice and variety. I hope they do it before it is too late.