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Manager of Silver Screen, Folkestone, says it will continue even if Debenhams becomes a cinema

A small cinema plans stay on for years even if a big rival moves into town.

That's the message from Silver Screen in Folkestone after news that the town's closing Debenhams store may be turned into a new picture house.

Chris Lightwing, co-owner and manager, said in a Facebook statement: "We are very grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from local people.

Folkestone Silver Screen in Guildhall Street
Folkestone Silver Screen in Guildhall Street

"We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary next year and hope to continue showing films here for many more years still to come."

Debenhams, on April 26, announced that it was closing four of its Kent stores including its Sandgate Road one. That would cease trading next year.

That day Folkestone and Hythe District Council revealed that one option was to turn the building into a cinema.

Debenhams, Folkestone.Will it become a cinema?
Debenhams, Folkestone.Will it become a cinema?

Mr Lighwing's statement said: "We are aware that many people have been asking what this might mean for the Silver Screen Cinema's future at our current location on Guildhall Street.

"Everyone at the Silver Screen Cinema is saddened by the recent news about the closure of Folkestone's Debenhams, and our thoughts are with those staff whose jobs may now be at risk.

"As a local independent business, we are supportive of investment in our town and welcome any improvements to the town centre.

" Unfortunately, we are unable to comment specifically on Folkestone & Hythe District Council's proposals for the future use of the Debenhams building, as we have not been involved with their plans."

Chris Lightwing: Says Silver Screen will carry on. Picture: Chris Lightwing
Chris Lightwing: Says Silver Screen will carry on. Picture: Chris Lightwing

The small picture house, based in the Town Hall, openedin April 1990 after the Folkestone's last one was demolished in the 1980s.

Silver Screen in Dover is carrying on despite a giant rival moving in a few hundred away.

The six-screen Cineworld, at the St James' Retail and Leisure Park, opened in March 2018.

Manager Alex Wallace said, two months before the opening, that new investment in Dover was wanted and progress could not be stopped.

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

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