MINEHEAD residents will be forced to travel as far as Bridgwater or Taunton to see the latest movies as Butlins has decided to close its cinema's doors to locals.

Residents had been able to sign in at the gate and use the ABC Cinema on site for many years but now the leisure firm is clamping down in wake of recent terror attacks, saying it is vital they know exactly who is on the resort at any given time.

"We will be restricting our use of the cinema on our resort to our guests from Wednesday, July 19 onwards," a Butlins spokesman said.

"This brings the cinema in line with all our other facilities, while also ensuring we know exactly who is on our resort at all times – something which is becoming increasingly important in current times," the spokesman said.

The news has been met with disappointment from local residents with many taking to social media to voice their concerns.

The cinema allowed residents to see films at discounted prices compared to its Odeon counterpart in Taunton, as well as saving fuel and time.

However others have commented that being able to use the Butlins Cinema was a 'perk not a right'.

Mayor of Minehead Jean Parbrook said: "We are very disappointed that Butlins has decided to take this action. "While I understand their reasons in these uncertain times, it is regrettable that no way can be found to facilitate the residents."

There could, however, be an alternative on the horizon as Minehead's Old Hospital owner Bill Howard says the board are looking at whether film screenings can be incorporated as part of the Community Hub project.

"It seems such and obvious thing to do here," Mr Howard said. "We already have a lot of support and our planning permission allows us to do that sort of thing."

Mr Howard said a local resident had already been in touch and was putting together a business plan for film screenings in the Old Hospital which would be submitted to the board.

"We want to also ensure we dovetail with the Regal Theatre's Film Society and make sure this is a plan that works for everyone."

Butlins did emphasise that residents can still purchase and annual pass for a family of four for £200, allowing them to use all the facilities on site.

The Butlins spokesman said: "Additionally, we will continue to support – financially or through use of resort facilities – local swimming, Tae Kwon Do, rugby and football clubs, as well as events in and around the town, such as the new Festival of Wheels.”

Taking place on September 10, the new Festival of Wheels will see a series of cycle races in the town, and organisers from Minehead Events Group and Minehead Cycling Club are hoping to attract some of the country's top cyclists to take part.