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New fight to save old Regal

PUBLISHED: 08:30 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 14:47 14 July 2010

proposals that could result in the demolition of the old Regal Cinema in Wymondham are being opposed by the former treasurer and secretary of the town's Ex-Servicemen's Club.

proposals that could result in the demolition of the old Regal Cinema in Wymondham are being opposed by the former treasurer and secretary of the town's Ex-Servicemen's Club.

Bob Howes and Jimmy Hurrell were instrumental in refurbishing the premises in Friarscroft Lane, which includes the cinema building, when they served on the club's committee.

And they have arranged a meeting at the Central Hall, Wymondham, at 2.30pm on Sunday, December 21 so past and present club members can have their say on the proposals to sell the site for redevelopment and relocate.

The building is reaching the end of its life, and the club does not have £600,000-£700,000 in the kitty to cover the estimated costs of bringing it up to modern-day standards or £500,000 to knock down the existing premises and put up a replacement.

Mr Howes said: “When I was treasurer and Jimmy was secretary we spent somewhere in the region of quarter-of-a-million on the place. I don't agree with possible demolition because with a little bit of money spent it can be saved.

“I think it's basically scaremongering.

“We were responsible for converting the cinema to what it is now. We were the chief instigators of the refurbishment as a lounge, and we also built an office on the back, put in disabled toilets and refurbished the bar. It was a very viable business.”

The men concede that their actions in opposing any plans to sell off the site could be seen as sour grapes, as both were “thrown out of the club” almost six years ago because of an alleged discrepancy with the accounts that was never proved. But Mr Hurrell said they were simply concerned about the future of the club, set up in the early 1920s to provide local former servicemen with a place to meet and socialise. It has been at the present location for decades.

“I can't see them getting another suit-able premises of any comparison with the site we have got. During our time on the committee there was a proposal to do away with the cinema side of it and the projection room was going to be wiped out, which we repelled, and nearly every-body thinks that's a good thing,” he said.

The two hope for a good turnout on December 21. “We are concerned that Wymondham will lose what is a very valuable institution in the town. We don't know whether any proposals will be made at the meeting, it could develop into a vote of no confidence,” said Mr Howes.

Minutes will be kept and the views expressed relayed to the club committee, which is due to hold its annual meeting in February.

LETTERS - See page 5

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