The Plaza cinema building in Port Talbot set for a revival?
CAMPAIGNERS in Port Talbot calling for the Plaza Cinema to be brought back to life are looking towards a year which could finally see their plans come to light.
Neath Port Talbot Council bosses are assessing possible funding sources to renovate the former cinema.
It is a step forward for the campaign group named Plaza, who have been lobbying the council to transform the Talbot Road building into a multi-use arts and community centre.
Since June 2011 steering group members have been meeting with the council's head of property and regeneration, Gareth Nutt, to discuss their vision for the derelict building.
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They last met with Mr Nutt in December and he confirmed that the authority was looking at funding options.
"The council will be receiving a report in the new year on progress that has been made with the community groups," he said.
"Part of the preparative work for the report is an assessment of likely funding sources."
Plaza group secretary Beverley Carver said their most recent meeting went very well. "Although a formal application for funding has not been made, the council is looking into potential funding with the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and other organisations," she said.
"Mr Nutt said the council was very pleased to be working with community groups on heritage and culture.
"We are developing a way forward," he said. "We are hoping to report to the council again early in the new year."
Sean Pursey, a member of the Plaza group, and who created a website dedicated to the rundown building, said he was looking to a promising 2013.
"I am very pleased," he added
"I feel we're making good progress with the project now.
"It's a long process but we're making our way through all the necessary steps that a project of this size requires.
"I'm hoping that 2013 will see the plans and funding options finalised so we can make a start safeguarding the building as soon as possible."
The Plaza campaign kicked off after Hollywood actor Michael Sheen's Passion play showed a demand for the arts in the town in 2011.
Neath Port Talbot Council confirmed in January 2011 that it had bought the cinema, which closed in 1999, and that it would form part of its plan to regenerate Port Talbot town centre.