The Big Picture Enters Management Agreement with Ashford Borough Council to run UK’s The Ashford Cinema

Courtesy of The Big Picture

The Big Picture Limited has been appointed by Ashford, England’s Ashford Borough Council (ABC) to manage the former Ashford Picturehouse. Last week, the former Picturehouse location came under the ownership of an ABC subsidiary company, Ashford Cinema Ltd, after Picturehouse decided to step away from their lease. In a bid to keep the cinema–which is an anchor tenant in ABC’s shopping and leisure hub Elwick Place–open, ABC worked with the Big Picture to explore viable solutions. They felt strongly that the loss of an important asset for the local community, and over 20 jobs, would have been hugely detrimental for the town. A recent study by the BFI found that, on average, a cinema drives £600,000 worth of wider economic social value to its local community per year.

The Big Picture reviewed the options for ABC and their recommendation was to create a new entity to allow the cinema to continue trading and prevent any job losses. ABC and the Big Picture jointly developed a forward-looking strategy to restore the cinema’s commercial viability. The cinema has re-opened and re-branded to The Ashford Cinema. Over the coming months, the Big Picture team will provide an interim transitional management service, focused on transforming the cinema with a variety of exciting new offers and events to appeal to a more family friendly and local community audience, including a wider program of films, and a new, exciting range of food and drink.

Mike Thomson, partner at the Big Picture, said, “We are delighted to be working with Ashford Borough Council to keep this gem of a cinema open for the Ashford community. Our goal is to create a space for locals that adds a vibrancy to the town center. The brilliant on-site team will remain the same and we will be working on ways we can improve on the offering and experience.”

“When Picturehouse informed us that they would be walking away from their long-term lease in early 2024 we felt it was important to take action. Rather than stand-by and do nothing, we decided we should step in for the benefit of the local community, and do all we can to keep our town center cinema and entertainment offer at Elwick Place open for business. We are working with the experienced team at The Big Picture to deliver a brilliant cinematic experience and community-based venue. I look forward to seeing The Ashford Cinema welcoming cinema lovers to the town center,” said Cllr Noel Ovenden, the leader of the Ashford Borough Council.

Courtesy of The Big Picture

News Stories