Published: January 17, 2014
Burnham-On-Sea cinema owner's concerns over proposed new laws

The owner of Burnham-On-Sea's cinema has this week expressed his concern at planned new legislation that will enable films to be shown in village halls and community centres on a not-for-profit basis.

The owner of the Ritz Cinema, Pat Scott, has voiced fears over the planned deregulation legislation during a meeting with the town's MP Tessa Munt.

He is one of many cinema businessmen across the UK who have expressed concern to the Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA) over the proposals.

Pat told "It's hard to keep small independent cinemas running and many of us are concerned about these proposals."

"It's hard enough to get enough visitors through the door without other local halls showing films showing films too."

"It's not competition that's the problem – it will just be an unfair playing field. I hope that the halls and community centres will have to adhere to the same stringent health and safety regulations as we do."

CEA Chief Executive Philip Clapp added in a statement: "It is very disappointing that the Government intends to proceed with the removal of licensing requirements on some types of film exhibition."

"The whole UK cinema exhibition sector, large and small, was united in its opposition to this unnecessary and damaging change."

Under the plans, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will change who can legally exhibit big screen content with the result that local bingo halls, social clubs, pubs or even churches could all potentially exhibit films.

Tessa Munt has said she is "very concerned" that the regulations could have a serious effect on the future of local independent cinemas and is taking up the issue within the government.

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