Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Sudbury: Cinema key to boosting town’s evening economy

15:10 26 May 2014

Archant

While often lively and thriving by day, Sudbury town centre turns into “a graveyard” by night, it has been claimed.

According to Sudbury Society chairman Peter Thorogood, the number of pubs, clubs and restaurants that have closed in recent years has left the town’s evening economy in dire need of a “shot in the arm”.

But although members of a steering group set up to oversee future development agree it could benefit from a new cinema complex with cafes and bars, they have warned that any such scheme has to be “commercially viable”.

A recently-appointed town centre manager has been tasked with boosting the town’s offerings after dark.

At one time, Sudbury boasted two town centre cinemas – the County Picture Palace in King Street and the Gainsborough cinema in East Street. Films were also shown in a building behind the White Horse pub. There was also a choice of around 17 pubs.

Mr Thorogood said: “Sudbury has lost a vast number of its pubs and the town is like a graveyard in the evenings. The Market Hill area has wonderful historic buildings like St Peter’s Church, the old Corn Exchange and the Town Hall, but everything is closed at night. There are no bars or clubs in that spot and there really isn’t anything to do.

“What we need is a cinema like they have in Bury St Edmunds, which has a lively night time economy.

“It’s currently like Sudbury closes at 10 o’clock and it’s a case of ‘will the last person out turn the lights off’.”

Babergh District Council is trying to find a cinema operator to invest in a scheme for the Hamilton Road area, which could include a three-screen film theatre alongside cafes and bars.

Chamber of commerce chairman and Sudbury Steering Group member, Chris Storey, agreed that while the town’s historic core was very attractive to walk around, it had little to offer the younger generation in terms of night-time entertainment.

He said: “There is a need for additional facilities such as a cinema to help the town centre and provide an extra draw, but commercial reality has to be at the core of any development. It has to be considered because there is no big pot of money to fund schemes that aren’t commercially viable.”

Simon Barrett, Babergh’s lead member of economic development, believes the criticism of Sudbury by night is unfair. He said: “For a market town of its size, I think there’s enough going on if you look for it.

“We do need a cinema for the younger people and we are working to find a cinema operator. It’s a question of being realistic about what we can achieve at the moment.”

Town centre manager Jane Hatton is working with the town council on a bid to acquire Purple Flag status, which could boost the town’s night-time economy. The accreditation recognises good management of town centres at night,.

Mrs Hatton said: “The future of the night-time economy does hinge on us getting a cinema complex which would encourage other things to follow. But in the meantime, there are things going on in Sudbury in the evenings. We still have pubs and restaurants and there are often events at St Peter’s – we just need to make sure people know about them.”

3 comments

  • The size of Sudbury would not make a cinema economically viable. Incorporating a small cinema into a multi function venue might work with it just showing films a few evenings a week The poor public transport in Sudbury does not help. Public transport in the evening is non existent

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • I doubt Sudbury would support a dedicated cinema it needs to be incorporated with other facilities or it would not be financially viable. Another issue is the very poor public transport in Sudbury

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • This sounds like a good idea in principal especially if it brings older members of the community onto the streets. Like many towns, Sudbury seems to be taken over by drunken youngsters and boy racers after the sun goes down. Most sensible people stay at home in front of the tv with their supermarket bought beer and snacks.

    Report this comment

    Baron Samedi

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The Cornhill in 1974 - photo Jerry Turner/Archant

Four decades ago Ipswich had through traffic in the town’s main shopping areas, writes David Kindred.

A 140-tonne electricity tranformer could cause traffic delays on Saturday as it slowly makes its way along the A12 in Suffolk

A 170-tonne electricity transformer the size of a bungalow is being transported along the A12 in Suffolk on Saturday.

Photo by Angela Sharpe of Ellough Park Raceway

A man in his early 60s died after being involved in a go-kart collision at a popular racetrack while celebrating his brother’s birthday.

Winners of the Stars of Suffolk Awards 2015

There are now just two days left to nominate an unsung hero from your community for a Stars of Suffolk award.

Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, celebrating with members of Pettistree church in the village pub, The Greyhound

A church is growing its congregation with a quiet contemplative service which starts in its chancel and ends in the pub next door.

A lorry has shed its load on the A14 over the Orwell Bridge

There were traffic delays on the A14 over the Orwell Bridge this afternoon after a lorry shed part of its load.

Do you know this woman? Police have released a CCTV image of a woman they want to speak to after a bank card was stolen and later used to withdraw cash in Ipswich

Police have released a CCTV image of a woman they want to speak to following the theft of a bank card which was later used to withdraw cash at various ATMs in Ipswich

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24