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Cinema reopened after campaign by hyperlocal site

A hyperlocal blog helped force a council U-turn over the closure of an arthouse cinema.

Inside Croydon has been involved in campaigning for the David Lean Cinema to be saved after Croydon Council closed it down in 2011 as part of budget cuts.

The council has now decided to reopen the premises and the first public screenings of films will take place next month.

A campaign to save the cinema was launched by residents three years ago after Inside Croydon covered the closure and the hyperlocal site, run by journalist Steven Downes, backed the campaign to reopen it.

Said Steven:  “I can’t do all the local news, but I can pick and choose which stories matter, and early on realised that the closure of the David Lean Cinema was an act of Town Hall philistinism.”

“As a result of our report, we helped to organise a meeting of concerned locals which saw the formation of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign, which we continued to support editorially, and three years later the council has finally seen sense..”


The closure was also criticised by Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and the man behind Downton Abbey, who is a Conservative peer in the House of Lords.

He wrote to Croydon Council, saying: “The continuation of your support for the cinema would be a very, very minor element in your budget, while its loss to the community, and especially pensioners, will be very great.”

Inside Croydon carried out a poll of its readers and found that 96pc of them wanted it to be kept open at its proper location of the Clocktower arts centre.

The cinema’s reopening, which is initially for a limited number of dates, will see it staffed by volunteers from the campaign to keep it open.