Fears new cinema would cause 'major disturbance' for residents

Plans for a cinema at the former Debenhams in the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds have so far been met with objections

Plans for a cinema at the former Debenhams in the Arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds have so far been met with objections - Credit: Johnny Griffith

Concerns over noise and disturbance have been voiced in relation to plans for a third cinema in Bury St Edmunds.

Objections have been lodged against the planning application by Bury WM Unit Trust for the former Debenhams store at the Arc shopping centre.

The proposal is for an Everyman cinema in the basement, with four screens and a fifth for private hire, as well as a small bar and restaurant area. This floor would also be part retail.

Intended hours of use have been listed as 9am-2.30am Monday-Sunday, with limited exceptions to 3.30am for midnight screenings and blockbuster releases.

As well as being a central retail area, the Arc also contains apartments, plus there are surrounding residential roads.

Boutique cinema chain Everyman would run the new cinema, if it's approved

Boutique cinema chain Everyman would run the new cinema, if it's approved - Credit: Paul Geater

One neighbour said they felt the proposed opening hours would cause "major disturbance to the residents".

Another said: "I live in Prospect Row and object to more footfall and noise especially late at night.

"The road outside my flat is already used for passing through town and as a pick [pick-up] point for taxis when people have attended the pubs or Apex for nights out.

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"The noise is already unbearable at times and I believe that a new cinema complex will create more."

Another resident said the application seemed "very sensible", but objected to "excessively long hours particularly the 2am closing".

A number of objections mentioned the lack of need for a third cinema in the market town, which already has Abbeygate Cinema and a Cineworld.

A survey by this publication found 89% of 444 respondents feel there isn't a need for another cinema.

"Please support retail shops as this is what the Arc was built for," read one comment to West Suffolk Council on the planning application.

While Bury St Edmunds Town Council welcomed bringing the building back into use, it also objected on the grounds of noise and disturbance due to the opening hours, which it said seemed "excessive, particularly as the premises is located in a residential area, and out-of-keeping with a cinema operation".

A supporting statement with the planning application said: "Everyman aims to provide an unbeatable cinema experience in high quality and unique venues and would add a new dimension to existing cinema outlets in the town centre."

It also said the proposal would "enable the introduction of a new cinema operator extending choice and convenience" and would "promote the vitality and viability of the town centre by securing a leisure and entertainment use within the primary shopping area".

A total of 15 full-time and 15 part-time jobs would be created, it added.