Cinema plan criticised yet again

By Dave GooderhamA MULTI-MILLION-POUND entertainment complex in a historic town has been branded "a slum in the making" by a developer.Work on the long-awaited cinema in Bury St Edmunds is due to start soon, but the development has come in for yet more criticism over its design.

By Dave Gooderham

THE design for a multi-million-pound entertainment complex in a historic town has been branded as "like an unattractive shopping centre".

Work on the long-awaited cinema in Bury St Edmunds is due to start soon, but the development has come in for yet more criticism over its design.

Thurston developer, Terry Hunt, said: "The design is something you might expect of an out-of-town shopping mall in mid-west America. It certainly does nothing to enhance the reputation of Bury.


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"It is quite hard to get people to show respect for public buildings - but if a building already looks like an unattractive shopping centre, it is unlikely they will be encouraged to look after it.

Mr Hunt is now hoping residents will back his concerns and get the designs for the Cineworld cinema in Parkway changed at the last minute.

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"We fought long and hard for this cinema and it is almost as if those who were against it were right as these designs would lower the general character of the town," he claimed.

"This cinema is essentially going to be a significant part of Bury St Edmunds' evening entertainment in a town which doesn't have very much anyway. I don't think the designs do the town any credit at all.

"It is sad that the people used all their energy up objecting to it - they should have directed it into accepting the inevitable and making sure the town gets a cinema in the right place with the right design."

Architecture watchdog, the Bury Society, has also voiced its concerns over the designs for the cinema complex.

Its chairman, David Rees, said: "Our view is that it has always been a tatty, unexciting building and it should have been made to look a lot better than it does.

"We don't expect it to look like the Athenaeum or the Guildhall, but it doesn't have to look so cheap and nasty. If you have something that looks so nasty, then people won't look after it."

Agents for Cine UK, which operates Cineword cinemas, said the designs for the Bury St Edmunds were within the context of their surroundings and added construction work was due to start this month, with the complex complete in spring 2005

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: "As part of the planning process, we listened to a wide range of views from members of the community and interested parties and this was taken into account when considering the application."

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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