THE BOSS of Keighley’s only surviving cinema the Picture House has announced a wave of improvements.

Charles Morris this week decided on the long-awaited work after learning that plans had been scrapped for a rival multiplex in the town.

Mr Morris has held off from major investment in his North Street cinema due to the likelihood of a Cineworld being built as part of the proposed Worth Valley Shopping Centre.


The new owners of the derelict site in East Parade have revamped the project, now dubbed the Aire Valley Retail Park, and their plans do not include the cinema.

The lack of leisure facilities in the initial blueprints was last week greeted with dismay by Keighley business and regeneration leaders.

But Mr Morris, who has operated the Picture House for 21 years, said he looked on the Aire Valley Retail Park rethink “a bit more positively”.

He said: “We have been marking time ever since the East Parade scheme was first mooted.

“There was no way Keighley could ever have supported two cinemas so we have hesitated to invest significant money in the business for fear it could all have been a waste."

Mr Morris said his company, Northern Morris Associated Cinemas, had to spend about £45,000 installing digital projectors in Keighley a few years ago to compete with major cinema chains.

He added: “We have kept up with repairs, including a recent expenditure of about £4,000 on the roof, decorations and minor improvements.

“But this now gives us confidence in the future and I have already ordered a quantity of new seats with which to begin a refurbishment.”

The Picture House was the first purpose-built cinema in Keighley and outlasted its five competitors.

Bradford Council, which owns the building, heavily invested in repairs in 1983, and Mr Morris took on the leasing 1996.

Mr Morris added said “The council at the time were begging me to reopen the cinema. I think they must have forgotten this recently in their enthusiasm to encourage a competitor.

“I’ve put a lot of time, energy and money into the Picture House. We try to cater for all tastes with mainstream films, family films, live broadcasts, plus we have the Keighley Film Club which brings the best of world cinema on a monthly basis.

“With continued support we hope to serve the people of Keighley for many more years to come.”

Over the years the cinema has been reseated, had stereo sound fitted, digital projectors installed and is now equipped for receiving live transmissions of theatre, ballet and opera productions.