Plans for a unique community cinema in the heart of Southsea move forward after council grants permission

WORK to transform an empty bank into a community cinema in the heart of Southsea can now begin after plans were approved – with the group behind it aiming to raise a total of £10,000 for its refurbishment.

Thursday, 10th March 2022, 3:54 pm
Updated Friday, 11th March 2022, 12:19 am
A mock-up of how the proposed Southsea Community Cinema could look at 1-3 Palmerston Road, Southsea
A mock-up of how the proposed Southsea Community Cinema could look at 1-3 Palmerston Road, Southsea

The Portsmouth Film Society (PFS) is set to take over the lease on the former Halifax branch in Palmerston Road, Southsea, and begin conversion work as soon as possible.

Now Portsmouth City Council has granted conditional planning permission for the redevelopment, with conditions set around the sound installation standard used by the cinema.

The proposed Southsea Community Cinema and Art Centre will include a 40-seat cinema, an educational centre, a small cafe area and display area for local artists.

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The former Halifax in Palmerston Road, Southsea

Aysegul Epengin, spokesman for PFS, said: ‘I was really happy to hear about the decision.

‘I am so grateful to the council.

‘We are meeting with the builders and sound engineers at the building tomorrow.’

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Working with partners and sponsors, PFS will offer a variety of classic, independent, international, and animated films several times a week.

The cinema will also feature guest speaker panels, quiz nights, film festivals, question and answer sessions, talks and courses.

Now the film society is undertaking a fundraising campaign to ensure it has a variety of facilities at the cinema, including a disabled toilet and a concession area.

So far more than 35 generous supporters have donated £2,560 towards the project’s £10,000 target.

Aysegul said: ‘It will go towards refurbishment. At the moment, the building doesn’t have anything in it – it’s an empty space.

‘We started this is as community cinema, but because we have this beautiful building, we are not just going to be a cinema – we want to be an art hub.

‘We have amazing projects lined up already.’

And the society plans to continue its popular outdoor and drive-in screenings, with the ambition to have outdoor films across the summer, according to Aysegul.

She said: ‘Our outdoor cinema will continue. We have already engaged with the council and given them our proposal for (the Cumberland House Natural History Museum gardens) to show films there – on Saturday evenings, most likely.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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