Cambridge: More Picturehouse Support

10 November 2013, 07:02 | Updated: 10 November 2013, 07:10

The Business Secretary has joined the fight to save the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse from being sold.

Vince Cable has raised the fight to save cinema with the new organisation launched to take over from the Competition Commission. 

It's after the Commission ruled that Cineworld must sell either its Cambridge multiplex or the city's Picturehouse, to 'restore competition and protect customer interests'.

However thousands of people have signed a petition against the enforced sale of the Picturehouse, which shows mainly independent, subtitled and arts films.

In contrast, the Cineworld Cambridge multiplex regularly shows the latest Hollywood blockbusters.

There are concerns that forcing Cineworld to sell the Picturehouse could damage the independent film industry.

Dr Cable took the issue to the chairman and chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority after Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert called for his help in a bid to prevent the cinema being sold.

He told Julian in a letter that during the meeting he had 'underlined the strong feeling in Cambridge' and the chairman and chief executive would update him on any new developments. 

The Competition and Markets Authority will bring together the Competition Commission and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading to promote competition inside and outside the UK for the benefit of consumers. 

It will take over in April 2014. 

Julian said: "I am encouraged that Dr Cable is doing everything in his power to promote further discussion on this issue. 

He knows how important the Arts Picturehouse is to Cambridge and has visited it himself. 

I want to see the Arts Picturehouse survive in Cambridge because it holds such a unique place in our city. 

It offers a very different programme to that provided by the larger cinemas and I am very concerned that if it is sold off we will lose that.

Dr Cable told Julian that the Competition Commission sought the views of nearly 400,000 cinema goers before making its decision that Cineworld should sell one of its Cambridge cinemas.