Mid Suffolk District council approves £2.6m investment in Stowmarket’s Regal Theatre and Cinema
The substantial grant will fund two additional cinema screens of 87 and 57 seats, support the creation of 10-20 new jobs, and upgrade the main auditorium and renovate the foyer.
The Regal Theatre in Stowmarket will receive an boost of £2.6m, councillors decided yesterday.
Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet voted in favour of the investment, with consists of a £1.56m grant and a £1m loan to Stowmarket Town Council.
The substantial grant, submitted for approval by the Mid Suffolk Development Committe, will fund two additional cinema screens of 87 and 57 seats, support the creation of 10-20 new jobs, and upgrade the main auditorium and renovate the foyer - with an expctected completion date of May 2020.
The changes are expected to increase attendance by approximately 40%, generating up to £1m extra for the local economy.
The £1m loan is predicted to cost the town council just under £50,000 per year in repayment and interest, and a reduced number of parking spaces as part of the scheme may cost the district council up to £7,500 per year.
In addition to the loan, Stowmarket Town Council has committed £400,000 towards the project from their reserves.
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Mid Suffolk District Council Leader Nick Gowrley said: “The extra cinema screens will attract new audiences and enable us to show more newly released films and a wider variety of other movies.
“The Regal has been at the heart of Stowmarket for a long time, not only thanks to its cinema screens but due to it’s hard work with community theatre groups, Dementia Friendly Screenings and hosting touring performances from across the country for residents of our town to enjoy.
“However, this funding is not just about the Regal: it is about investing in the future of Stowmarket by increasing visitor spending in our town by up to £1m a year and creating a score of new jobs. Improving the layout of Ipswich Street Car Park will also make it easier for visitors to support the businesses that drive our local economy.”
Stowmarket Town Councillor Barry Salmon said: “We are delighted that the District Council is supporting this project. The Regal Theatre is hugely popular and it is great news for the town that both the District and Town Councils are willing to invest in its continuing success.
“We wish to see a modern entertainment venue at the south-eastern gateway to the town centre which can be used for civic and community purposes, cinema and theatre.”