Reprieve for Regent may be coming soon

The Regent Community Cinema.
The Regent Community Cinema.

A LEVEN business man has added another twist to The Regent cinema sale saga by revealing he is looking to take a leading role in saving the community venue.

Jim Parker, of estate agents Fife Properties, has stepped forward with a proposal of fronting up a group of local investors who would buy the building, which is up for sale, and then lease it back to Leven Community Cinema.

Mr Parker told the Mail he has had “tentative discussions” with the Commercial Road building’s owner, Victor Levy, of Raphael Properties, and is now looking for other interested parties to get in touch.

He said: “I’m looking at the option of having a number of investors buying it for the benefit of the community.

“It would be a collective where people could invest anything from £1000 to £20,000 each. That way, we won’t be in the position again of there being just one owner.

“Each investor would be a shareholder and, if someone wanted out, they could be bought out by someone else.”

Mr Parker hasn’t agreed a price with Mr Levy but, as a local estate agent, is in a strong position to negotiate with the London-based businessman.

He has already met with representatives of the cinema group to look through its accounts and stipulated, as a condition of offering them a lease, he would want his group to be given a place on the cinema’s board. That way it could protect its investment by making sure the building was economically viable, but Mr Parker insisted it would remain as a cinema.

He added: “It doesn’t lend itself to anything but a cinema.

“The building is sound. I spoke to Colin (Cunningham, treasurer) and the projectionist and they gave me a tour round it.

“We would be doing it for the community. I’m not sure if anyone would get much back but, at the end of the day, we would own the bricks and mortar.”

Up until now it had seemed the building would go on sale at an open auction on May 2, as talks between Leven Community Cinema and Mr Levy broke down.

That would leave the group facing the possibility of becoming homeless if a new owner didn’t want to keep them on as tenants.

Mr Levy confirmed he had spoken with Mr Parker and said he would be delighted if something could be sorted out.

He added: “He sounded like he was sympathetic to the cinema, which was good. That’s always been our plan right from the beginning, to find someone to come along.”

Jim Parker can be contacted at Fife Properties on 01333 421774.