From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, January 21, 1983.

Cinema comes back to Horsham this Sunday with the re-opening of the old ABC in North Street by new owners Horsham District Council.

The saga of the ABC enters a new phase under the banner of The Cinema and will be showing a series of films until conversion into an arts centre can begin.

The redevelopment work is expected to begin in September, at a cost of £1.3m, and the arts centre operational by the autumn of 1984 with cinema, theatre and exhibition facilities.

It will replace the Capitol Theatre, now closed and due for demolition soon.

Since the council purchased the ABC from EMI last year it has been closed apart from several special charity events and a presentation by the Royal Navy.

Now it will come out of mothballs on a more regular basis with a line-up of current films, starting with ‘Nightshift’ on Sunday followed by ‘Rocky III’ on Thursday.

Southern Water officials were yesterday still hoping for a last-minute deal to avert the all-out strike by water workers due to begin at midnight on Sunday.

But union chief said their members were determined to back their rejection of a ‘paltry’ four per cent pay offer with industrial action.

The Government has confirmed it is prepared to bring in troops to run an emergency service, but the unions say water workers not directly involved in the dispute would be expected not to co-operate with the troops.

Separate talks with the conciliation service, ACAS, were continuing, although union representatives for Sussex said they still favoured direct negotiations and claimed the Government had tied the employers to the four per cent limit.

The unions have agreed to provide emergency cover for hospitals and house-bound patients in the event of a strike.

The water industry’s 29,000 manual workers are seeking a 15 per cent rise with improved conditions and have been operating a ban on overtime, stand-by and call-out duties.

A scheme to protect the ancient Stopham bridge from destruction by traffic could be completed in 1985.

“It is still in the preliminary design stages,” said a spokesman for County Hall, where the scheme was given the go-ahead by the roads and transportation committee.

“There is no estimate yet but it is hoped that it will be carried out in two stages. The first stage, earth works, would begin in July and would take four months.

Stage two would be main road and bridge work starting in March 1984 and taking about a year. The completion date at present, however, depends totally on negotiations to acquire the land needed for the diversion.”

Four and a half acres of pasture land will be compulsorily purchased for a new road to be built, and once the scheme has been completed traffic would be prevented from using the old bridge and short lengths of road either end of it.

At Friday’s committee meeting Mrs Helen Dyas (Horsham Rural) said she hoped that something would be done about the bridge quickly. “When I drove over it recently I noticed that another 15 feet of parapet had gone into the river,” she said.

Mrs Dyas also wanted to be told that, once the works were completed, there would still be access to the pub near the bridge.

Amid laughter, she was reassured on this point!