Ipswich: Vue submit planning application for multiplex cinema in Buttermarket

A PLANNING application to convert the former department store in the Buttermarket centre into a Vue multiplex cinema has now been received by the borough.

The new cinema could have up to nine screens – and it could be ready to open during the first half of next year.

The application has been sent to the borough council and is expected to be open to public inspection within the next week.

People will then have until the end of September or early October to comment on the application before it is discussed by members of the borough’s planning and development committee.

That is not expected to be a major hurdle.

Three department stores in the unit have closed or been taken over since it opened 20 years ago and the arrival of a major cinema in the heart of the town centre is seen as good for the Ipswich economy.

The application also includes an area for a family restaurant as part of the cinema.

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Officials from the council and from management company Ipswich Central see the arrival of a town centre multiplex as a major plus for the “twilight economy” – encouraging people to stay in the town between the end of the working day at 5.30pm and 9pm.

One of the entrances to the multiplex would be in Queen Street, just yards from the Ipswich Film Theatre which screens specialist films.

However volunteers who manage that are not worried about the new arrival.

Andrew Clarke from the Ipswich Film Theatre Trust said: “Anything to encourage people into the town centre would be good.

“I don’t think a multiplex would show the kind of films that we show – and if it means the Buttermarket car park stays open longer and there are more people in the town that will be very good for us.”

Nobody from Vue was available for comment.