Published: 00:00, 08 April 2016
| Updated: 10:51, 08 April 2016
“Deal needs a cinema but we are still waiting for lift-off” is the slogan used by fast-growing campaign group Reopen the Regent.
The active team of “neighbours” are reiterating their concern about the future of the historically important building in Beach Street.
Its statement reads: “We are a small group of concerned neighbours. We have no agenda other than making sure this building survives, and that Deal gets the cinema it deserves.”
Kathryn Reilly initially started the group, but when Laura Evers Johns started her own social media page on the topic the pair realised a landing page needed to be set up.
They are now behind the online admin, which keeps readers up to date on the latest developments, much like KentOnline has and will continue to do so as the story develops.
Mrs Evers Johns told the Mercury: “I think that people are frustrated about the amount of time it is taking.
'I think that people are frustrated about the amount of time it is taking.' - Laura Evers Johns
“It is about managing expectations and people have expected to have a cinema by now.
“People are excited by that, and that excitement turns to disappointment and anger.
“Unfortunately people feel like they are being cheated out of a community facility.”
She expressed concern about the building’s condition, adding: “Residents want to know where all the enthusiasm seems to go for saving the building.”
Mrs Reilly and Mrs Evers Johns have both met developers James Wallace and Mark Digweed, who briefed them on what was happening.
It is alleged that the developers are not keen to engage publicly when it comes to consultation, and will be finding out people’s thoughts online.
Mrs Evers Johns said: “Maybe they should re-consider their position of not engaging. This is an asset of community value.”
James Wallace, joint owner of the Regent, disputed the claim that the developers were not keen to engage with the public over their plans to turn the Regent into a cinema, restaurant, cafe bar and flats.
He said: "Nothing has changed from the Mercury's report two weeks ago.
"We're still keen to present the plans at a public consultation at Deal Town Hall over two weekends, hopefully in September.
"People will be able to have their say on two schemes, one using the existing plans and the other that incorporates the advice for a different frontage."