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Paignton Picture House

Find out more about the work we are doing with Torbay Culture and the Paignton Picture House Trust (PPHT) to secure the future of this historic building.

The Picture House is one of Europe’s earliest purpose-built cinemas. It is a Grade II* listed building that is recognised for its historic and architectural significance. Once the restoration is complete, the historic landmark will be reopened for the community to use, learn from, and enjoy. The Picture House was identified as one of the priorities in the Torbay Heritage Strategy and is an important part of the Future High Streets Fund plans for Paignton, which will see the Torbay Road and Station Square area improved.

Together with Torbay Culture and the Paignton Picture House Trust (PPHT) we have a shared ambition to raise the position of culture and heritage in Paignton, that delivers long term community benefits such as employment and more collaborative working.


The following funding has been secured to put towards the restoration and development of the Picture House.

  • £1.25million of Future High Street Funding
  • £3million of Cultural Development Funding (CDF) of which £2.4m is for capital works, and £565,000 for resource activity with partners

The investment from the government’s Cultural Development Fund (CDF) will enable us to make a real difference in Paignton over the coming years. The CDF is part of the Cultural Investment Fund from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), managed by Arts Council England. Torbay is one of seven areas in England to secure this second round of CDF, and the only location in the south west peninsula.

More about the CDF

  • The CDF is primarily capital investment (approximately £2.42m) with some resource investment (£565,000) to support activity.
  • CDF is more than simply improving a cultural or heritage asset, it is about enabling local improvements in places to make towns more attractive; and encouraging training and skills, job creation and economic growth.
  • This period of CDF runs until March 2025, when the programme of work is scheduled to be completed with the reopened Picture House.
  • PPH Trust, Torbay Council, and Arts Council England held a formal start up meeting in May 2022, and we are working through the financial, legal and planning stages of the investment to enable the work to progress.
  • The Council and PPH Trust will have a partnership agreement with South Devon College and the International Agatha Christie Festival, supported by the advisory board of Torbay Culture, to set out our shared ambitions for the CDF programme of work.
  • Our ambitions include the College supporting hundreds of apprenticeships, and the partners commissioning a programme of community participation opportunities, developed by, and delivered in collaboration with, local creative talent.

Project update and recent activity

  • Exterior repairs to stonework, brickwork, and windows, together with improvements to the roof were completed in January 2022, supported by Historic England and the Architectural Heritage Fund
  • PPHT have appointed a design team to move forward with the restoration project.
  • The PPH Trust have held two successful open days in early May - almost 1,000 people visited and shared their thoughts.
  • Hundreds more people have completed an online survey. Individual groups have also been attending through organised sessions, like young people visiting with Doorstep Arts.
  • More open days will take place in July 2022, and there will be further consultation later in the year.
  • The PPH Trust is talking with other local creative partners so the plans can be shaped to ensure the CDF benefits people in the bay.

Related news

An artists impression of how the Paignton Picture House will look after it's renovation.