PLANS for a major revamp of a city's only cinema have been postponed indefinitely.

The Gala Cinema in Durham was due to undergo substantial renovations before reopening as a Picturehouse cinema with restaurant at the end of last year.

Six months after their proposed opening date, the company has confirmed their plans are on hold “indefinitely” while they wait to assess emerging competition in the form of a six-screen Odeon, which is currently being built, and a three-screen Everyman Cinema, which has been promised as part of a £150m regeneration project at Milburngate House.

The two-screen Gala, which is owned by Durham County Council, is currently the only cinema in Durham.

Jon Baranachea, project development manager at Picturehouse Cinemas, said the plans for Durham were on hold.

Steve Howell, Durham County Council’s head of culture and sport, said: “In discussion with Picturehouse, we have mutually agreed to postpone the further development and opening of the Durham Picturehouse at Gala while we assess the long term arrangements for the services we offer.

“While this will be a disappointment to many, our positive relationship with Picturehouse continues, with a vibrant film programme for our current screens and although that we have not been able to realise the Picturehouse project fully, we are now waiting to assess the emerging competition before making any future plans.

“I hope we can look forward to other opportunities that will help us create a relevant, sustainable, vibrant and above all thriving Durham city centre.”

Programming was outsourced to Picturehouse in 2015, as part of a deal which was hoped would also result in private investment of around £3m and would boost the number of cinema goers as well as improve the experience for customers.

Picturehouse was granted planning permission last year to turn the former tourist information office in Millennium Square into a restaurant called the The Kitchen.

There has been speculation in the city as to the viability of three cinemas within Durham City Centre.

Work is currently underway on the opposite side of the River Wear to build a six-screen Odeon cinema on the site of the former Gates shopping centre, which is due to reopen next year as The Riverwalk.

A third cinema for the city is also planned as part of the new development at nearby Milburngate, with Everyman Cinema planning to open a three-screen "boutique" cinema in 2019.