Fears over Savoy cinema future after cars are towed away
BOSSES of Nottingham's longest-serving cinema say its future could be in "serious jeopardy" if a row over car parking isn't resolved.
The Savoy Cinema has called for Nottingham City Council to improve parking in Lenton after customers had their cars towed away while at the cinema on Saturday.
It wants customers to back its plea, saying the future of the cinema in Derby Road could be at risk if nothing is done.
James Collington, managing director of Savoy Cinemas Ltd, said: "Up until now we've managed to find space for around 30 cars. Bit by bit all the parking is being taken away."
The Post reported yesterday how cinema-goers who parked their cars in Park Street, behind the cinema, on Saturday were either fined or had their cars towed away.
It happened after the city council put up 'no loading' signs and temporary parking restrictions in the street due to work to demolish the nearby Lenton Flats.
Six customers' vehicles were towed away, including one belonging to a disabled man in a wheelchair.
A further ten people were issued with fines.
The cinema yesterday showed the Post CCTV footage of the moment customers had their vehicles towed at around 3.30pm.
The footage shows a group of customers returning an hour later to find their cars missing.
A member of staff at the cinema also received a parking ticket last week.
As a result, the cinema has put up its own signs in Park Street warning customers not to park.
Mr Collington said the cinema was first consulted on the plans for the Lenton Flats site last November.
Almost 150 council homes will be built on the site of the existing five 1960s tower blocks, off Lombard Close.
The council and Nottingham City Homes, which manages its housing stock, say the homes will be built by 2016-17.
Customers have previously been able to use Park Street, and a strip of land off it which contains marked parking bays.
Mr Collington said both he and Savoy Cinema's operations director Mark Welberry have met with the city council twice since January to air their concerns.
Mr Collington said: "What happened at the weekend was totally unnecessary.
"We would like the city council to reconsider and show more support for local businesses. We are not the only business that would benefit (from more parking)."
A statement posted on the cinema's Facebook page outlined its campaign for more parking.
It said: "Customers of Savoy Cinema, Nottingham's oldest and best loved independent cinema, we are calling for your support in a situation that could potentially put our extremely well-loved and iconic cinema in serious jeopardy."
The Savoy opened in November, 1935.
The company also operates two other cinemas, in Worksop and Boston, Lincolnshire.
The city council says 'no loading' notices have been at the site since February 23 advising people of a parking ban, which has been in force since February 26.
A city council spokesman said: "We want to support local businesses such as the Savoy Cinema as much as we can. They are currently part of the ongoing consultation about the development of this area of the city and we will continue to work with them to find the best parking solution.
"The current master plan for the development provides 10 parking spaces at the entrance to the development site, next door to the Savoy, in addition to two disabled parking bays behind the cinema. We are looking at other locations that could potentially be made available.
"The development itself will bring more families into the area and thus more potential customers for the cinema. We have several developments in the area which should help increase footfall.
"We look forward to continuing to work with the Savoy in the most constructive way possible."