By Grant Woodward and Chris Murphy
A FAMOUS Leeds cinema was celebrating an unexpected saviour today.
Cottage Road Cinema in Headingley, which was due to shut for good after tonight’s screening of animated flick Madagascar, looks likely to enjoy a last-minute reprieve.
It emerged today that talks held between current owners Associated Tower Cinemas and Charles Morris, who runs several cinemas in West Yorkshire, had been successful.
Mr Morris, who operates cinemas in Keighley, Skipton and Elland, was expected to put pen to paper tomorrow to officially take over the running of the historic picture house.
Associated Tower Cinemas boss Chris Ure told the YEP: “We came to an agreement and, although it is not yet signed, he should take over the running of the cinema tomorrow morning.
“It’s not done until it’s done but I have a gut feeling that he is definitely going to do it. I am 95 per cent certain he is going to sign tomorrow.”
Mr Ure, whose company recently closed Headingley’s other cinema, The Lounge on North Lane, said the Cottage Road cinema was changing hands for a “nominal fee”.
He added: “I’m delighted it’s going to continue as a cinema. It’s fantastic news. There was a lot of concern from local residents and a swell of opinion that it would be a shame if we lost the cinema.
“It’s great to have found someone who is a cinema enthusiast and who can prolong its life.”
The YEP was unable to contact Mr Morris today.
Associated Tower Cinemas blamed spiralling losses for its decision to close The Lounge six months ago. It was feared Cottage Road would close just one day short of its 93rd birthday but there are now real hopes that it will survive to see its centenary.
The news was welcomed today by Derrick Todd, who spent 17 years as the manager at Cottage Road.
The 69-year-old said: “It’s fantastic. The cinema was a huge part of my life for many years and holds lots of happy memories, so I hope it carries on for many years to come.
“It would be lovely if it could celebrate its 100th birthday in 2012.”