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Bringing a cinematic vision to Guildford

PUBLISHED: 19:50 14 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:01 20 February 2013

Bringing a cinematic vision to Guildford

Bringing a cinematic vision to Guildford

Battle continues to rage in Guildford as Farnham businessman Mark Gudgin fights for his vision of a local independent cinema.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2010


Battle continues to rage in Guildford as Farnham businessman Mark Gudgin fights for his vision of a local independent cinema.


While support from the public is high Gudgin has been hosting successful film nights at the Guildford Institute the plans have just suffered another setback, with the borough council reaffirming its intention to move the tourist information centre and Guildford House Gallery into Gudgins preferred venue at 170 High Street.


The whole thing has stirred up huge public interest and the decision will continue to face scrutiny, says Gudgin. Needless to say, I am hoping it will be reversed.


The building being fought over is Grade II listed and was briefly a cinema in the early 1900s. An investment asset, not previously used for council business, the lease was put up for sale last year and an art gallery was set to move in, in preference to Gudgins cinema proposal. When this fell through, the council took the building off the market. Gudgin now believes he is in a much better position than first time round, with new investors on board.


I am confident that should we get the opportunity to bid for 170 again, we would be successful, he says. That said, should that not be the case, we would look for alternative sites.

The councils change of heart stems from 170s potential as a creative hub, with the tourist information centre the lease of which at 14 Tunsgate was surrendered in November and Guildford House Gallery coming together under one roof. It is also acknowledged that there is a high potential value in a building as historic as Guildford House.


Its not that an independent cinema wouldnt be a good thing for Guildford, says Chris Mansfield, head of economic development at the borough council. Its just that this particular building isnt on the commercial market at the moment.


Where the protagonists go from here remains unclear, but Gudgin and his supporters have vowed to continue their fight to bring their own version
of independence to Guildfords High Street.


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