Lowestoft storm-hit cinema 'closed for another month'

Inside the East Coast Cinema, courtesy Michael Hansell In the screen three auditorium carpets, seats and walls had to be removed

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A storm-hit cinema's operator has said it could be another month before it can reopen after the biggest North Sea storm surge in 60 years.

The East Coast Cinema in Lowestoft was forced to close after water poured into the building, flooding auditoriums.

Now, after a huge clean-up operation and help from the insurance company, the cinema is ready for a refit.

Managing director Michael Hansell said staff were looking forward to "making the cinema nice again".

He said the chance for the cinema to have a complete refit was something of a "silver lining".

"We will end up with a lovely looking cinema and the people of Lowestoft will have a lovely cinema to come back to.

"Obviously we would have preferred not to have the flood," he added.

'A real mess'

Landlady Teresa Cook said she was paying bills out of her own savings

He said he hoped the cinema would be open in time for the February half-term.

Further down the coast at Snape, The Crown pub also had to close after the December surge.

Landlady Teresa Cook said the water came into the pub up to a height of two feet (60cm), ruining carpets, floorboards, furniture and fittings.

"It's a real mess," said Mrs Cook.

Mrs Cook said insurance covered the loss of business and staff wages, but she was still waiting for the company, Towergate Insurance based in Great Yarmouth, to pay out.

"We're still paying the staff out of our own pockets," she said.

However, on Monday a spokesman for Towergate Insurance told the BBC the company was instructing the loss adjuster.

"On being contacted about [the] claim, we acted as quickly as possible to obtain all necessary information and as a result we are happy to settle the claim," he said.

Mrs Cook said they were hoping to open the pub by 14 February, St Valentine's Day.

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