A NEW meeting space and café has temporarily opened at the former Regent Cinema in Lyme Regis.
The fire-stricken cinema has stood empty since the auditorium was burnt down over six years ago, and was beginning to attract vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
After taking on ownership of the site from WTW Scott Cinemas last year, business- man Seb Walther has let the frontage of the building – largely unaffected by the fire – to Lyme Regis fisherman and owner of harbourside business Deli Weli, Steve Postles.
Mr Postles will be running what is now called The Phoenix as a meeting space and café on a year’s lease, while Mr Walther continues working on his long-term plans for the entire site.
Mr Walther said: “After weeks of waiting, the electric has finally been connected to the building and Mr Postles’ venture The Phoenix is finally open.
“Although its final decor is a ‘work in progress’, I must take my hat off to Steve and his team for the time and effort he has put into the building to cheer the old place up. I wish him the best of luck with the Phoenix.
“It’s great to see the building spruced up and used while I continue the lengthy process to gain permission for its prosperous future.”
Speaking to LymeOnline, Mr Walther added that he had a “grander vision in mind” for the future, commenting: “I love the building and its position, and wish only to enhance the top end of the Broad Street.
“If I can encourage people up the main street to visit a new venture, it can only benefit the shops along it path.”