Celebrations as cinema opens for Bury

A DECADE-long battle to provide one of Suffolk's most historic market towns with a state-of-the-art cinema multiplex last night came to an end as the red carpet was rolled out during gala opening celebrations.

A DECADE-long battle to provide one of Suffolk's most historic market towns with a state-of-the-art cinema multiplex last night came to an end as the red carpet was rolled out during gala opening celebrations.

The dream of bringing an eight-screen complex to Bury St Edmunds finally became a reality as dignitaries and invited guests gathered at Cineworld's newest venue, as nearly 10 years of council wrangling and legal challenge was finally forgotten.

And with 40 new jobs provided by the £15m Parkway site, community leaders also heralded the opening for the boost it will provide to the town's economy - and the extra entertainment it will give to young and old alike.

“Everybody has been really positive, and there has been a buzz around town about the cinema,” said Stephen Steele, general manager of the Cineworld complex, which opens to the public tomorrow. “The staff just cannot wait to get it up and running.


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“We will be showing a wide range of movies, as the eight screens make it possible to offer everything from Hollywood blockbusters to smaller arts films. We may even go into Bollywood, depending on what the audiences want, and will cater for everybody.

“And all our screens have lots of legroom at the request of our chief executive, who is quite a tall chap. He wanted to make things comfortable for the audiences so people would want to come back.”

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The multiplex's eight screens can cater for a total of around 1,500 people, with its biggest auditorium housing 310 seats and its smallest around 150.

At last night's celebrations, audiences were treated to a choice of three films, while Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will keep moviegoers entertained at the complex's public opening tomorrow.

“This has been something of a never-ending story,” said Ed Mason, an 18-year-old A-level student at the town's King Edward VI Upper School who, together with his friends, is eagerly awaiting his first visit to the new cinema.

“But when more and more talk about the cinema started, it began to seem like the 10 years of waiting was finally coming to an end and maybe our wishes would be granted.

“It will be nice to be able to go to a decent local place with a good sound system and all the facilities that shows the blockbuster movies immediately.

“There is not a great amount for young people to do in town at the moment, so the cinema will definitely work to encourage younger people to stay here rather than look further afield for entertainment.”

The opening was also welcomed by town mayor Mike Ames, who described it as a “significant red letter day” for Bury and the neighbouring villages.

“This will bring great benefits,” he said. “It is a great day for the town in every respect. The cinema will be another big venue where people can meet socially and enjoy themselves and it has already generated a lot of new jobs.

“It is going to help the economy and will provide something for people of all ages. I, for one, will stop going to Ipswich with my wife to see films, and will not have to travel up and down the A14 looking for a decent showing in comfortable, state-of-the-art surroundings. This will be excellent.”

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk

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