The company who took over the former Odeon cinema in Ayr last year is itself to be taken its own staff.

Merlin Cinemas, owner of the recently reopened Astoria in Burns Statue Square, says it will soon become an Employee Ownership Trust.

Ownership of the company will be transferred from the existing managing director, Geoff Greaves, who founded the cinema chain.

The trust will protect the interests of the 320 people who work in the company’s cinemas and restaurants.

The current senior management team is not set to change and the company has said that it is “very much business as usual”.

Current co-director Craig May will become managing director, whilst Daisy Wren and Chris Lawrence will be newly appointed as directors. 

Mr Greaves said: “This is a fantastic and exciting route to protect the company and our ethos, and to reward all those people who together have been part of the success in bringing the ‘Magic of the Movies’ to so many people around the UK."

The Astoria reopened to the public back in March following a ten-month closure following Odeon's decision to pull out of the town.