Cannock's Electric Palace cinema revamp moves step closer to premiere

Work on the first phase of a £100,000 revamp of Cannock’s only cinema is expected to be completed this week.

The Electric Palace Picture House in Cannock
The Electric Palace Picture House in Cannock

Electric Palace Picture House manager Graeme Cotton has secured a 10-year lease on the popular Walsall Road venue and is giving it a makeover.

The ladies’ toilets are being refurbished with the finishing touches being added over the next few days. The men’s toilets were completed earlier this month and new seats, carpets and signs will be put in after the summer.

The screenings are unaffected by the changes.

Mr Cotton said work would slow down over the summer months.

He said: “We are trying to modernise the cinema and make it a lot more attractive.

“We are still the cheapest cinema around by miles and so far the initial improvements have gone down well.

“We’ll look to get new seats in and really get to work in a couple of months’ time.”

It will also be the end of an era for traditional reel film and projection in the town later this year, with an £80,000 switchover to digital systems likely after the summer.

Under a five-year-plan, a third 100-seater screen could be built on the current balcony area in screen one.

The previous owners, developers Pritchard, sold the cinema at auction for £175,000 with the new owner yet to be revealed.

But the move allowed Mr Cotton, who has run the cinema since 2009, to gain a long lease and safeguard the independent cinema’s future for the next decade.

Previously he had only been granted short leases. A cinema club for children in Cannock launched at the cinema last month.

The CreateCinema: Club at the Electric Palace is open to children under 11 on the last Saturday of each month when youngsters can watch films for just 50p.

The number of cinemas in the region is set to almost double in the next few years.

A new £3 million five screen Odeon cinema opened in West Bromwich as part of the £200 million New Square development.

In Walsall, cinema wars have broken out as two rival multi-million pound chains battle race race to open in the town centre. While Stafford Apollo has just been taken over by a London-based Curzon.