Bury St Edmunds: Lots of interest from potential buyers in Abbeygate Picturehouse

The Abbeygate Picturehouse in Bury St Edmunds

The Abbeygate Picturehouse in Bury St Edmunds

Seven different companies are interested in buying a popular art house cinema which is being put on the market due to a ruling by a business watchdog.

The Abbeygate Picturehouse in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds, is being sold by Cineworld - which also owns a multiplex cinema in the town - because of a Competition Commission decision earlier this month.

The commission told Cineworld to sell cinemas in Bury, Cambridge and Aberdeen following the group’s acquisition of City Screen Ltd, which owned the Picturehouse chain, on the grounds that limited local competition would result in higher prices for customers.

Lyn Goleby, managing director of Picturehouse and one of its founders, had said she expected there to be interest from potential buyers in the Abbeygate Picturehouse because it is “a very healthy business”.

And on Wedenesday Pat Church, who has managed the Hatter Street cinema since 1975, said: “There’s seven different companies at the moment interested in our business and there’s also a senior management bid going in so we will see how it goes. It will be mid November until we find out where we are going.”

He added: “There is a lot of interest. There’s no doubt about it.”

Customers of the Abbeygate Picturehouse have been rallying round to offer as much support as possible to make it as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

On social network website Streetlife people were saying they were going to visit the cinema as much as possible and there was also talk of local people forming a collective to buy shares in the cinema so it would be owned by them.

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One person said: “Local people buying it is a great idea. I’d be happy to invest and help front this if enough people are interested.”

Mr Church said: “There’s so many people who have outpoured their love and affection for the Picturehouse cinema and what we have achieved over the last few years and that’s permeated through the industry.”

Mr Church said the aim was for the Abbeygate Picturehouse to remain an art house cinema.

Previously a Cineworld spokeswoman said it was to sell the cinema as a going concern.