At its meeting on Monday, 15th October, Wilmslow Town Council unanimously voted to award a Grant of £21,219 to the company that will be running the Rex Cinema.
The money will go towards the costs of installing a disability access lift and covers half of the cost.
Making a recommendation as Chairman of the Finance Committee, Cllr David Pincombe said "The amount requested is approximately half of the costs of installing a lift and a third of the total costs they anticipate spending on providing access and further facilities for disabled persons.
"The Finance Committee in forming its recommendation were provided with an overview of the ambitious plans to bring back to life the Rex Cinema. This will include two viewing screens a bar and lounge facilities providing drinks and snacks, along with other amenities that can be enjoyed by the community of Wilmslow and beyond. The applicants Mr And Mrs Mundin talked to the Committee about maintaining the integrity of the original auditorium as an existing structure along with the original ceiling façade. They also paid tribute to the Rex Revival Group who has done a magnificent job of promoting the Rex in Wilmslow and the wider community.
"During their overview the applicants made reference to four other cinemas in a similar state to that of the Rex that they have fully restored and are now thriving and seen as a great asset to their local communities. They feel that when the Rex is refurbished it will also play a similar role in helping restore and breathe new life into the centre of Wilmslow."
Cllr David Pincombe added "We were impressed by the documentation provided, which included a breakdown of detailed costs for refurbishment, financial details of costs associated with their other theatres and an array of the type of entertainment provided that would be replicated within in the Rex cinema.
"All questions posed by the committee were answered in a very satisfactory manner and we were left in no doubt that the project to restore the Rex was not just a commercial venture but also a commitment by a family group to bring back to life some heritage that has been lost for too long."
After the meeting Cllr Angela McPake, Vice Chairman said "We are often asked as to what Wilmslow Town Council is doing about the increase in empty shop units and the resultant impact that this has on the vitality of the Town Centre. In reality the Town Council is unable to impact landlord rents or business rates which are often sited as major contributing factors in the increase in vacant units. What the Town Council can do is recognise that when an opportunity arises, that has the overwhelming support of the public and that has the ability to act as a catalyst to enhance existing businesses and to encourage new, it takes action to consider what support is appropriate. In this instance the feedback received through the emerging Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan was that not only do the people of Wilmslow want a cinema in the town centre but also that the use of the Rex Building to deliver such a project was vital in putting a heart back in to the town centre and in using this iconic building for the purpose it was intended.
"The Town Council recognise that the age and design of the building makes access improvements difficult and costly but felt that it was critical that such an exciting development for the town must be accessible to all sections of the community. In providing this grant it was noted that the largest proportion of the access costs will be funded by the Mundin Family who are also committed to providing audio and visual aids. I am delighted to hear that the public are embracing the Rex by taking out membership packages well in advance of the opening and am as excited as anyone to find out the date when the Rex will re-open."
Wilmslow Town Council also approved a £5000 grant for Food Friend to enable them to continue their extended food bank project which began in 2011 to provide support for individuals and families who for whatever reason found themselves unable to put food on the table. With the help of Wilmslow Town Council they extended the provision in January 2014 by having St Batholomew's Church open 5 mornings a week and the project run by a trained councillor. See separate article for more details.
Wilmslow & District Furniture Recycling was awarded £400. The voluntary organisation is based on the Lacey Green Estate where it collects reusable furniture and household items and redistributes them to families in need. The grant will be used to fund 50% of a trip to see the Sleeping Beauty pantomime in Stockport along with a pre-pantomime meal at McDonalds for about 21 children, from single parent families or children in foster care, who have been supported in recent years along with a few accompanying adults.
Alderley and Wilmslow Musical Theatre Company were awarded a grant of £3641 to cover the cost of hiring the Evans Theatre for a week in November when they will be performing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.