ACCRINGTON'S Premiere Cin-ema is set to be sold to a national company for a figure thought to be approaching a million pounds.
The move will safeguard the future of cinema in the town and give a huge boost to the finances of cash-strapped Hyndburn Council.
The multi-national cinema giant Vue, formerly Warner Village Cinemas, is believed to be the company involved in the deal, which is expected to go through within a matter of days.
It would provide more screens, better conditions and state-of-the-art technology.
The cinema, part of the Viaduct entertainment complex, is currently owned by Globe Enterprises, in which Hyndburn Council has a one-third share.
Globe took over the running of the venue after it suddenly closed last September, when the original operators, London-based GSX, went into voluntary liquidation.
Delighted council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "I can confirm that negotiations for a sale are well advanced."
"This is wonderful news because last September the cinema was in danger of closing. Along with our partner companies, we took over the running of the cinema and have improved it so much that it has attracted interest."
"It will mean a significant injection of cash into the council's coffers, which could be spent throughout the borough, but the most important thing is that it ensures the long-term future of the cinema in Accrington and many people will find that very important. It is the best news for ages.''
Globe Enterprises declined to officially reveal the sum involved but said more than one company was interested.
A spokesman said: "We are very encouraged that four cinema operators have expressed a firm interest in taking over the operation. Intensive negotiations with one leading operator have been going on for the last few days but it's not yet possible to announce a firm outcome."
He said staff posts had been safeguarded and would be transferred when a deal was signed.