A CINEMA enthusiast hopes he can reopen Northwich’s much-missed Regal.

James Crompton has been involved with the reopening and refurbishment of a 1930s cinema in Stockport for the past 10 years and hopes he can replicate this success with the Regal.

“I think there’s still a market for a cinema in Northwich and I’m looking to open one,” he said.

“It’s mainly thanks to the Plaza in Stockport that I’ve got an interest in cinema and now I want to jump in at the deep end and try to open or reopen one myself.”

James is just 24 years old but said his age should not be a barrier.

“There are not many people my age that know these buildings for what they are,” he said.

“Most people would say ‘the Regal is a dump, demolish it’ but I can see it for what it was.”

The Regal opened in London Road in 1939 and showed films to the populace of Northwich until it closed more than 60 years later, on January 6, 2007.

A number of plans have been suggested for the site as part of Northwich Vision, including apartments or a hotel, but none of these has come to fruition and the building has remained derelict for more than two years.

James, a volunteer projectionist and organist at the Plaza in Stockport, said: “I’m not against any plans that the council might have for the site but during the period where it’s standing doing nothing it could be used for something, even if it’s just the start of a community cinema.

“The condition of the building is only going to get worse. Someone will get hurt or it will burn down if it’s not used.

“The Regal is quite quirky if you can see beyond the dirt.

“It’s quite a remarkable building, especially considering it’s survived all this time.”

James, who lives in Leyland, has visited the cinema and is in touch with owner William Godfrey, whose grandfather Robert built it.

His next step is to investigate the inside of the building.

He hopes that he can reopen the smaller Screen Two to prove that a cinema in Northwich is viable then look for funding for a bigger project.

He said: “I’m interested to hear local views on whether or not people would want to see it open, whether they would like to help and have it as a community effort or whether they would prefer it to be privately run.

“If there’s enough local interest we could set up a friends group and register as a charitable trust.”

He added: “I don’t have the capital to do it but the man who founded Odeon didn’t either.”

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