'Urgent' call for new buyer as community-owned cinema closes doors

Oban Phoenix Cinema has permanently closed its doors just 12 years after a huge fundraising effort to reopen.

Oban Phoenix Cinema closes doors amid ‘urgent’ call for new buyer as all staff made redundant Supplied

Urgent calls have been made for new buyers to save a community-owned cinema in Argyll and Bute.

Oban Phoenix Cinema has permanently closed its doors just 12 years after a huge fundraising effort to reopen its doors as an independent, community owned cinema.

An appeal to save the cinema, based on the west coast of Scotland, has been launched after it was placed into provisional liquidation.

The cinema in Oban has a long history dating back to the opening of the Cinema House in the 1930s with a seating capacity of 600.

The Oban Phoenix Cinema can trace its roots on the site back to the 1950s via different operators through to the Highland Cinema which closed in 2010.

Oban Phoenix Cinema has permanently closed it's doors just 12 years after a huge fundraising effort to reopen.Supplied

Following it’s initial closure the local community, with some help from celebrities like Dame Judi Dench, worked to reopen the venue as the Oban Phoenix Cinema, an independent community-owned cinema and registered charity offering a wide range of films, events and venue hire.

The provisional liquidation has been caused by a “marked decline in audience numbers and revenue stemming from the Covid pandemic, together with rising operating costs due to inflationary pressures”.

The cinema has ceased trading with immediate effect and all eight staff at the venue have been made redundant.

Blair Milne and David Meldrum of accountancy firm Azets, who have been appointed joint provisional liquidators, have urged interested parties to contact Azets promptly to maximise the chances of reopening the famous venue.

Blair Milne, restructuring and insolvency partner with Azets and joint provisional liquidator said that “extensive efforts” of the Board of Trustees and supporters to avoid the closure but the financial issues meant provisional liquidation was the only option.

“We will market the property and assets for sale and try to find a buyer keen to continue operating a cinema on the site.

“We are hopeful that our urgent call for a buyer will appeal to a variety of interested parties including existing cinema operators, an entrepreneur keen to enter the sector or a larger business willing to invest in an important and valued community asset.

“We are asking interested parties to contact Martin McGrellis at Azets by email – martin.mcgrellis@azets.co.uk.

“We will also provide every possible support to the staff that have been made redundant including assistance with the submission of claims to the Redundancy Payments Office and accessing suitable employment support services,” Mr Milne said.

A spokesperson for the Oban Phoenix Cinema added: “It is with the deepest regret that we have had to close the doors of Oban Phoenix Cinema.

“We have tried to maintain the cinema for the benefit of the community however we have been struggling with a massive decline in footfall alongside a rise in costs over the last few years.

“Unfortunately, numbers have declined even further during the last few months, and it is with great sadness that we have had to close the cinema as it had become insolvent.

“We would like to thank our current dedicated staff and all the community that have supported us with their patronage since 2012.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code