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Long-standing plans for Bury St Edmunds arthouse cinema are 'coming to fruition'

PUBLISHED: 19:00 07 June 2019

The former Winners Bingo space will be incorporated into the cinema/restaurant Picture: BERNARD WRIGHT

The former Winners Bingo space will be incorporated into the cinema/restaurant Picture: BERNARD WRIGHT

BERNARD WRIGHT

The much-anticipated expansion of Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds has begun - but eager customers are told the new screen is still a long way off.

Jonathan Carpenter and Pat Church outside the former Winners Bingo site  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJonathan Carpenter and Pat Church outside the former Winners Bingo site Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The six-figure project to merge the existing cinema and restaurant in Hatter Street with the derelict Winners Bingo areas is now underway, with hopes for this first phase of work to be complete by the end of September.

A new 300-seater auditorium, as well as smaller corporate screen, will then follow, taking the total number of screens at the cinema to four.

READ MORE: Work begins on creating two new screens at Abbeygate Cinema

Chris Peters, project manager for Abbeygate Cinema, said "We are really excited that our long-standing plans will finally be coming to fruition, and we can get on with improving our facilities for our fantastically-loyal customers".

Mr Peters was keen to point out, however, that the wait for the new screen will still be a long one.

Pat Church, of Abbeygate Cinema, outside the venue in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPat Church, of Abbeygate Cinema, outside the venue in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"Everyone is asking when the new screen will be open!" he said. "There's a huge amount of work that has to happen before we can start building the new screen - that's for later phases.

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"Right now, in phase one we are laying new drains, installing underfloor plumbing for the new ground-floor toilets, re-routing fire exits from the current screens and extending the kitchen work spaces.

"What we're really excited about however, is that we will finish this first phase by opening the new foyer area, with a new box office/kiosk serving counter - which will all join through into the existing cinema and restaurant - making a much larger, more welcoming and relaxed foyer space for our patrons."

The former Winners Bingo, next to Abbeygate Cinema Picture: BERNARD WRIGHTThe former Winners Bingo, next to Abbeygate Cinema Picture: BERNARD WRIGHT

READ MORE: Living legend Pat Church looks back on 50 years of Abbeygate Cinema

The Abbeygate Cinema and No4 Restaurant & Bar will be open for business during the building work, but occasionally may need to open later, limit audience capacities, and sometimes cancel daytime screenings to allow any potentially noisy work to be completed.

"We apologise in advance for any inconvenience these works may cause, and we thank our neighbours for their patience and co-operation," Mr Peters said.

Andrea Holmes, marketing manager for Abbeygate Cinema, added: "We can't wait for our new spaces to be open. We're shortly going to be launching our fundraising campaign where the public can donate to the cause - and have their name included in the actual fabric of the building.

"We're thinking names carved into wooden blocks at the moment! We're planning a big launch in the coming weeks so keep your eyes on the press and on our website for details coming soon."

The former Winners Bingo, next to Abbeygate Cinema Picture: BERNARD WRIGHTThe former Winners Bingo, next to Abbeygate Cinema Picture: BERNARD WRIGHT

Abbeygate Cinema is in the heart of the historic market town and screens a strong mix of arthouse, independent and quality mainstream films.

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