The Competition Commission has warned that Cineworld may have to sell either Abbeygate Picture House or its multiplex in Bury St Edmunds.
The commission’s preliminary findings on Cineworld’s take over of City Screen, which runs the Picturehouse chain, believes that it could lead to lack of competition and higher ticket prices in Bury, Cambridge and Aberdeen, though not in Southampton or Brighton.
Abbeygate’s manager Pat Church, who has worked there for 48 years, said today: “I’m disappointed with the outcome. We’re entirely different types of operation, so vastly apart from each other. The audience structure is different as well.”
He said the company would now be trying to convince the commission of that.
He said he would like customers to tell the Competition Commission what they think. The commission is seeking views on its findings. The commission’s website is at www.competition-commission.org.uk and views on the cinema can be emailed to them at CineworldCityScreen@cc.gsi.gov.uk
Mr Church, who has worked under nine different owners, said staff were confident of the cinema’s future.
City Screen spokesman Charles McDonald said they would be talking to the commission about whether there were ways in which the cinemas could be run that would be acceptable.
He added: “I don’t think there is any doubt if one was sold it would be sold to another cinema chain. They are both successful cinemas.”