SCORES of people turned out to support a campaign to see the return of a historic cinema in Ringwood town centre.

Local councillors, residents, members of the Cinema Theatre Association and the Save the Regal Cinema in Ringwood group stood by the cinema's building in the Market Place on Saturday. They aimed to encourage people to sign their petition to re-open the venue as a family entertainment space for people to enjoy.

Meanwhile, plans from Development Securities Ltd involve keeping the facade of the Regal Cinema but demolishing the auditorium behind it to make way for new shops linking the Furlong to the Market Place. These plans have not yet been to New Forest District Council.

Mike Tuck, chairman of the Save the Regal Cinema in Ringwood campaign, said: "Our major problem is that the building belongs to the developers who own the Furlong Centre. This means that we either have to buy the building outright, which will cost a lot of money, or campaign to get them to bring it back as it was.

"There is a page on our website where people can sign up to become Friends of the Regal Cinema. We are looking for a bit of money to get a structural survey on the building. We have a lot of supporters but not many official friends yet as the campaign is just at its beginning."

It was also an opportunity for the supporters of the campaign to film a video of resident's and committee members views, which will be posted onto their website for the building's developers to see.

Cllr Michael Thierry of Ringwood Town Council said: "The occasion was absolutely key to understanding what the campaign for the Ringwood Regal cinema is all about."

He said supporters of the campaign have a 'vision' of seeing the venue re-opened to be used as major entertainment centre of the town that it was before.

"If you look at the experience of the Tivoli in Wimborne and the Regent Centre in Christchurch, they have been able to retain a cinema and a theatre.

"However, I am aware that there is another project involving the arts centre at Greyfriars. I fear that this could be a divisive element between those for the Regal cinema and those for the arts centre."

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