AN historic cinema is trying to raise an additional £50,000 for renovation works but admits it really needs another £156,000 in funding.

The Electric Palace Cinema, in King’s Quay Street, Harwich, has been undergoing a £750,000 restoration project to prevent the building’s ceiling from collapsing and decorate its auditorium.

The regeneration project has benefitted from £500,000 in funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and public donations in the past few years.

But in January, work ground to halt due when asbestos was discovered.

Historic England then put the cinema on the Heritage at Risk Register and money was obtained to fund the £650,000 removal of the asbestos in the roof.

The cinema has now launched a fundraising page to secure a further £50,000 to complete the project.

So far, more than £7,000 has been raised in donations.

David Looser, chairman of the trustees at the Electric Palace, said the £50,000 is what seems like an “achievable aim”.

He said: “We are still fundraising for several reasons but the two main ones are, firstly that under the terms of our second grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund we had to contribute £74,000 ourselves.

“Since at that time our own funds were fully committed we had to borrow that sum, which will need to be paid back within five years.

“In addition we always intended to replace the seats as part of the project, but as other costs rose this became impossible within our existing funding.

“New seats will cost an additional £62,000 which, as things stand, we cannot afford.

“There are other unexpected expenses that are not included in the original budget which add up to another £20,000 or so.

“So really we would like to raise about another £156,000.”

Mr Looser said he hopes the cinema will be open by next summer for the public to use again for events and screenings.

The funding will allow the building to be removed from the Heritage at Risk register, once works are complete.

The historic building has stood as one of Britain’s oldest surviving purpose-built cinemas for more than a century.

It opened in 1911 and has seen acrobats, comedians, signers and hypnotists grace its stage.

The venue has been visited by the Queen and its patron is actor Clive Owen.

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