THE future of Wales' oldest cinema has been secured.

The freehold of Brynmawr's Market Hall Cinema, which is 128 years old, has been transferred from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to the Market Hall Cinema and Arts Group.

The freehold also includes the adjoining former library building.

The council says the move will protect the future of the cinema, with plans in the progress to add a second screen to the venue within the next five years.

Council leader and executive member for corporate and performance, Cllr Steve Thomas, said: “There has always been a shared desire to secure a sustainable and successful future for this important and much-loved local facility.

“Community Asset Transfers are proving successful across Blaenau Gwent, helping to retain and even improve community and sporting facilities for people to use and enjoy.

“There has been a true partnership approach from the council and the trustees to reach this landmark point for the cinema, and with plans for a second screen in the pipeline we look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength.”

Plans to transfer the building, based in Market Square of Brynmawr, were due for completion in 2020 but the Covid pandemic put this on hold.

MORE NEWS: 

Fears of eviction spike due to Renting Homes delay dismissed by Welsh Government

29-year-old Welsh rider killed in Isle of Man TT Races crash

Chairwoman of the Market Hall Cinema and Arts Trust, Beth Watkins, added: “We are excited to now be in a position where we can commence with our plans to develop the Market Hall, securing its future.

“The ability to provide this in the centre of Brynmawr in such a historical venue is exciting and something that, as a charity, we feel passionate about.”

The cinema faced an uncertain future towards the end of 2016, with it closed for six months due to asbestos concerns. But in 2017 the building was given the all clear and reopened.

Actor Michael Sheen, officially reopened the cinema in 2017 and became a patron of the historical building in 2018. 

Find out more about what's on at this historical venue via its website.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.