FILM lovers could soon be able to buy a share in Oxford’s last independent cinema and fulfil the dream of its owner who died last year.

The Ultimate Picture Palace has launched a survey asking members if they would be interested in bringing the historic East Oxford landmark into community ownership.

Tom Jowett, marketing manager for the Jeune Street cinema, said: “Things are still in the very early stages at the moment and this is step one of many.

Oxford Mail:

“The survey is just to get an idea if members and customers think it’s a good idea.”

He did, however, say the response so far had been ‘overwhelmingly positive’ from members and customers.

A small steering group have been running the cinema since beloved owner Becky Hallsmith’s died from cancer in September.

The 60-year-old had ensured before her death that the future of the business was safe and the UPP would carry on showing films as normal.

Read tributes to UPP owner Becky Hallsmith led by the Oxford Mail's Bill Heine

A note on the cinema’s website explaining the current situation said: “Since then we’ve been working hard to see if we can fulfil Becky’s wish to turn our beloved cinema into a community-owned business, ensuring it remains a vital part of the community.”

It went on to explain community ownership would mean the building, which was saved closure from closure by Ms Hallsmith in 2011, would by run by and for local people.

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File photo of Becky Hallsmith at the UPP.

This would be set up on a one member, one vote system, rather than one share, one vote, meaning all members would have an equal say in its development as a community asset and as a business.

The notice added: “Like any business, a community business must generate income to keep going, but also aims to provide benefits for the community.

“A share purchase would offer the opportunity to invest tangibly in the UPP as an asset and in the community more widely. A share price would be set, with a minimum purchase required.”

It concluded: “Shares could be investment shares, which might offer a small return when the UPP is generating surplus funds, or donation shares, which are a gift but offer the shareholder involvement as a member.

“Because such a venture would involve asking people to buy shares, we are really interested in hearing your views on what would receive your support.”

Flo’s Place was taken over by the community last year

In total Ms Hallsmith oversaw £100,000 worth of renovations at the 105-seat cinema, which was opened in 1911.

Her makeover of the Grade-II listed building included revamping the building’s façade and installing 100 new seats costing £30,000, which was made possible after a fundraising drive supported by 240 people.

She also got rid of damp and installed a new ventilation system, sound system, movie screen and digital projector.

As well as increased visitor numbers in 2013, the cinema was given an Oxford Preservation Award for the restoration and lighting of the facade.

To take part in the survey visit