What you really need to know
Q Who owns the Regent?
A The freehold of the Regent was sold to James Wallace and Mark Digweed in 2011 by Dover District Council. They paid the low price of £385,000 on the proviso the building was restored to a cinema. It is held under the name TM Trustees.
Q Why do the Council keep objecting to the owners' plans?
A After a monumental struggle between Deal residents, DDC and the owners, plans were finally approved in July 2019. A cinema and restaurant with no residential element was the result. See the plans here.
Q Is the building listed?
A At the moment, no. We have secured it as an Asset of Community Value, which gives it some protection. The trouble is that we don't know what state the original Pavilion building is in. Clearly the front addition of 1933 is in a very bad state and needs urgent attention. Whether anything can be saved of the glass and iron structure behind is not known.
Q What can we do to save the building and get a cinema for Deal?
A Join the Reopen the Regent campaign to keep putting pressure on all parties to get things moving.
Q Didn't Kent Highways make an objection?
A According to DDC and the Deal Society, Kent Highways raised some minor questions about deliveries and access to the rear of the building but these weren't serious enough to halt development.
Q Why were people working in the building?
A This has now ceased thanks to the Group's actions. The owners were saying that the workforce within the building was 'researching film and the future business'. However, many local people saw a large amount of building materials and white goods going in and out of the property over six years. DDC failed to monitor this properly or stop it happening despite repeated requests for action.
Q Why is it taking so long to develop?
A That's the million-dollar question. Popular misconception is that the Council are holding things up, but in reality it's the owners who have been stalling. Others believe the owners can't afford to do the work, but if that's the case they could simply sell it on to someone who can.