Campaign to bring cinema back to Wilmslow progressing well


A campaign to bring the Rex cinema back to Wilmslow is gathering momentum with the landlord having reached advanced negotiations with an independent cinema company.

Following last year's announcement that Multiyork has gone into administration, local residents took to social media to call for the Rex building to be turned back into a cinema. Wilmslow Town Council responded by entering into discussions with resident's groups, potential commercial partners and property agents regarding The Rex building and its potential as a cinema, arts and community space.

The Rex building, one of our few Art Deco buildings in Wilmslow, was originally built as a cinema in 1936. It later diversified and was used for both professional and amateur theatre productions, as well as movies.

Sophie Taylor, who set up the Rex Revival Group to try and resurrect the Rex, told "We are thrilled by the progress being made, and with the cinema company involved. There has been no time frame set for the next stages as yet."

Cllr Angela McPake , Vice-Chairman Wilmslow Town Council said "Wilmslow Town Council is delighted that significant progress is being made in the quest to reopen the Rex Building as a cinema.

The Town Council is fully aware, through the Neighbourhood Plan process of the support within Wilmslow for the Rex Building to reopen as a cinema and in doing so once again become the focal point for the town.

"Having had preliminary conversations with interested parties since before Christmas, the Town Council agreed in February to do what it could to facilitate a return of the cinema and have since worked to encourage commercial interest in the site.

"Should a deal be concluded, as seems likely, then it will be down to the willingness of the landlord and the agent in taking seriously the views expressed by the Rex Revival Group and the Town Council and to the vision of the Cinema operator in investing in our town.

"As town centres find it difficult to retain and encourage retailers it is vital that people are attracted in to Wilmslow during the daytime and in the evening and by bringing a cinema back in to the heart of the town we believe that retailers and restaurants will benefit greatly."

Sophie Taylor added "The number of Rex Revival Group members, which currently stands at around 3,150, shows how huge the demand is for the cinema's return. Many of these members will have visited the Rex in its heyday, but a big proportion did not live in Wilmslow at the time; all are united in their desire to have a cinema on their doorstep.

"Managing the group has highlighted to me the community spirit of the residents of Wilmslow. The excitement, support and encouragement demonstrated so far by the group members is testament to this."

Rex Revival Group, The Rex


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Robert Bracegirdle
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 4:19 pm
Many a happy evening there! Remember queuing too or even been sent away when it was full.
John Simpson
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 4:32 pm
Great news - I will certainly support the cinema .
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 5:30 pm
While a cinema in Wilmslow would be great, I'm cautious of the word "negotiations". Unless I'm mistaken, the group don't hold the lease on the building nor are they providing financing, so while their support and encouragement is great, I don't understand on what basis they'd be "negotiating"... Perhaps someone involved can clarify?
Angela McPake
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 6:31 pm
Hi Jon,
The Landlords are the ones in advanced negotiation with a cinema company.

We are very grateful to them for realising fairly early on that the interest in a cinema was not purely nostalgia driven and that it could be a commercial possibility. That currently looks to be the case.

Cllr Angela McPake
Sophie Taylor
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 6:50 pm
Hello Jon,
The latest update is: "an independent cinema company are now in advanced negotiations" (i.e. the independent cinema company are in advanced negotiations with the Rex owners / their agents).
I hope this clarifies the current situation.
Thank you,
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 at 8:09 pm
Thanks Sophie that's good to hear!

Maybe it's just my reading of it, but the first sentence of the article ("a campaign to bring the Rex cinema back to Wilmslow is gathering momentum having reached advanced negotiations with an independent cinema company") sounded like it was the campaign group that were in advanced negotiations with the cinema company.
Raymond Walker
Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 7:51 am
Since many from our area attend the theatre relay programmes at Didsbury and fight road works and an overfull car park such a venture could work. The Council needs to input to allow the return of stage productions by reallocating the Mabel Evans grant that helped equip the dusty dual purpose Leisure Centre theatre. (Maintenance there has been long overdue.) The Rex must have a facility for stage productions. Up to the 1040s touring productions would visit by trains with costumes and scenery unloaded at the station sidings.
A Wilmslow Theatre Group tried to steer the Council in this direction 15 years ago but without the councillors real interest and backing. Now is the time to act.
The campaigners should start by reading the Wilmslow Theatre Group minutes of the six years it was active.
Geographically the centre is ideal, a short walk from the station. After the Rex closed and was altered, its circle remained untouched and its push red seating is still there today.
Raymond J Walker
Joyce White
Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 8:16 am
Would definitely use it. Walking distance from home. What's not to like
Andrew Wright
Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 10:33 am
We need to remember that the experience at the Rex wasn't as rosey as people remember. I saw Jurassic Park there and wasn't impressed, saw it a few days later at a multiplex in Warrington and was blown away. The sound system was poor and the the acoustics worse.
Having said that, and to support a comment above about transport, I have a Cineworld Unlimited ticket and like to go to Paris Wood.
So much for my plan to visit the cinema today. Left Wilmslow at 10:45 for a 11:40 showing, stuck on A34 south of Handforth Dean for 20 minutes due to lane closure after the B&Q roundabout, finally managed to get around first roundabout at Tesco's and cut back and across Dean Row - however the traffic north towards Handforth at the lights was also stopped. So in summary, roadworks now stopping all traffic from getting north. Madness.
Angela McPake
Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 11:53 am
Hi Raymond,
Much as lots of us would love to see live theatre at the Rex, that is unlikely to happen, and certainly not at this time.
The majority off the stalls, all the stage and backstage area are within what is now Revolution. It isn’t part of the building that is currently vacant.
John Clegg
Thursday 3rd May 2018 at 2:34 pm
Andrew Wright, what - you've only just noticed?
Ever since last Spring 2017, the authorities have allowed the contractors to stop up roads at will, seemingly, what with the airport tunnels upgrade, initially May to August then extended to December, along with the Cargo City works further along toward the M56; then Styal Rd was closed at the bridge over the river Dean from early September to early December, along with the ongoing live single-lane governed by traffic lights during Summer and Autumn. Then the Styal Road/A555 crossing/junction has been down to 1-lane running governed by traffic lights, which was schediuled to run for 5 weeks only, from 5 Feb, then secretly amended to 7 weeks, then 11 weeks, and now it'll be August...
I won't go on but I might submit something for, including a letter from the A6MARR project team.
Martin Kitchin
Monday 7th May 2018 at 3:16 pm
And of course, with Wilmslow undertrading by £25M per annum (Source : Cheshire East Local Plan) & under serious threat from " inappropriately sited out of town retail " anything to bring customers back into the town is really welcome.
Nick Jones
Monday 7th May 2018 at 6:36 pm
@ Martin Agree fully with your last,.... so to encourage visitors, workers, shoppers, cinema users , perhaps CEC could daub less yellow paint, and improve the daytime parking arrangement that forces people to the " inappropriately sited out of town retail .." The evening / night time economy is somewhat different to the working day ... But there's clearly no point in CEC Cllrs (not residents) Local Plan.. criticising out of town, if they dont want to change parking and access in our fine town to the benefit of business... food for thought ! I think the Rex would stand on its own two feet and anything to help access / parking in the daytime would be beneficial.