Cineworld plans major cinema revamp and more screens in market town
PUBLISHED: 18:34 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:34 14 February 2020
A national cinema chain has shown a vote of confidence in Bury St Edmunds by planning major investment including two additional screens and 10 new jobs.
Cineworld has submitted plans for its Parkway cinema that would take the number of screens from eight to ten, there would be a new lobby, cafe and lounge area, and the existing auditoria would also be renovated.
The walkway at the front of the cinema would be enclosed and used for the extension, which the firm said would improve the "gateway of the cinema".
It is understood 10 new part-time staff would join the existing team of 31 employees.
The historic Abbeygate Cinema in Hatter Street has also been expanding, with a six-figure programme of improvements to bring a new 300-seater auditorium, as well as a smaller corporate screen, to the market town.
READ MORE: First look inside historic cinema's new-look foyer and box office
Mark Cordell, chief executive of the Ourburystedmunds Business Improvement District (BID) group, said he was "delighted" to hear of the plans to expand Cineworld in Bury.
"It's a positive reflection of the confidence Cineworld obviously have in the town as a leisure destination. With a growing population, it's heartening to see that both of our cinemas have plans to expand their offer, which is great news for movie lovers!"
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The Cineworld cinema is part of a leisure complex, also featuring restaurants, built in 2004.
A design and access statement with the planning application said the new lobby and cafe would occupy the former Giraffe unit at the front, also enclosing and incorporating the current alley.
The proposal is also for bigger cinema seats, but overall the number of seats would be reduced from 1,632 to 1,424.
The statement said: "The current proposal provides an opportunity to significantly refurbish the interior with a holistic approach and to enhance the screen provision from eight to ten screens.
"The refurbishment of the screen rooms will allow a higher quality experience including for those with mobility impairments, providing better access to the auditoria, and will meet the demands of a contemporary cinema offer."
Town mayor Peter Thompson said: "It heartens me there is a company interested and wanting to put in and spend significant amounts of money."
He added: "We do have a population to serve and people want to go out."
Cineworld was contacted for additional information, but did not respond.