A petition opposing the proposal to turn the historic New Picture House into a sports and entertainment venue has gained more than 7500 signatures.
The New Picture House: a cultural treasure in St Andrews
The New Picture House is the only cinema in St Andrews, a town famous for its golf courses and university. The cinema opened in 1931 and has been a place of entertainment and community for generations. It is also a protected building by Historic Environment Scotland, which praises its unique design and local identity.
The cinema owners say they have received a “unique investment opportunity” from Nexus Luxury Collection, a real estate firm backed by golf star Tiger Woods and pop singer Justin Timberlake. The firm wants to transform the cinema into a sports bar called T-Squared Social, which would cater to wealthy tourists and golf fans.
T-Squared Social: a premium sports and entertainment concept
T-Squared Social is a chain of sports bars that aims to offer “so much more than a typical sports bar experience”. The first one opened in Manhattan earlier this year, featuring large screens, live music, cocktails, and gourmet food. The firm plans to expand to other locations around the world, including St Andrews.
Woods and Timberlake say they have a special connection to St Andrews, where Woods has won two Open Championships. They say they want to bring their T-Squared Social concept to the town to add to the local community and be a welcoming place for residents and visitors alike.
The petition: a grassroots movement to save the cinema
However, not everyone is happy with the proposed plan. A petition launched by Ash Johann, a student and film festival organizer, has gathered more than 7500 signatures in less than a week. The petition calls the plan “deeply alarming” and says it would strip away the cultural heritage and identity of St Andrews.
The petition argues that the cinema is “the heart and soul of St Andrews” and “a sanctuary of memories”. It says that the cinema is where people come together to enjoy film and culture, where friendships are forged, families bond, and art is celebrated. It also says that the plan would marginalize the local community and the student population, who would lose access to an affordable and diverse entertainment option.
The petition urges the cinema owners, the real estate firm, and the local authorities to reconsider the plan and preserve the cinema for future generations.
The reaction: mixed opinions from different stakeholders
The petition has received support from various groups and individuals, including film lovers, students, locals, celebrities, and politicians. Some of them have expressed their views on social media, using hashtags such as #SaveTheNewPictureHouse and #NoToTSquaredSocial.
However, some people have also voiced their approval of the plan, saying that it would bring more business and excitement to St Andrews. They say that the cinema is outdated and underused, and that a sports bar would attract more visitors and create more jobs. They also say that Woods and Timberlake are respectful of the town’s history and culture, and that their venture would enhance rather than harm it.
The cinema owners have not commented on the petition yet, but they have previously said that they are confident that the plan would secure the long-term future of the building as an entertainment venue. They have also said that they are working closely with Nexus Luxury Collection to ensure that the plan meets all the necessary regulations and standards.
The outcome: what will happen next?
The plan is still in its early stages and has not been submitted for planning permission yet. It is unclear how long it will take for the process to be completed and whether there will be any public consultations or hearings.
The petition organizers say they will continue to campaign against the plan until it is withdrawn or rejected. They say they are prepared to take legal action if necessary. They also say they are open to dialogue with the cinema owners and the real estate firm to find an alternative solution that would benefit everyone.
The fate of the New Picture House remains uncertain for now. Will it remain a cinema or become a sports bar? Will it be saved or transformed? Will it be a source of pride or controversy? Only time will tell.