New battle warning on cinema plan

By Liz HearnshawMOVIE fans could be enjoying their favourite films from the luxury of a town's new state-of-the-art multiplex cinema within 15 months.

By Liz Hearnshaw

MOVIE fans could be enjoying their favourite films from the luxury of a town's new state-of-the-art multiplex cinema within 15 months.

But protesters who successfully fought earlier plans to introduce the multiplex in Bury St Edmunds have pledged to continue their battle to halt the development - if they deemed the cinema design inappropriate.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council leader Ray Nowak said legal discussions between the authority and operator Cine-UK had been “satisfactorily” completed, with a planning application expected in the summer.


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The multiplex, which would be built on land off Parkway if permission was granted, could then be completed within 15 months, giving cinema-goers the chance to catch the latest releases as early as Christmas 2004, he added.

“It is all systems go, which is really good news. Things are now looking positive - we have made an agreement with a well-known operator which is keen to set up a regional cinema chain in the Eastern region and the modified plans will soon be submitted,” said Mr Nowak.

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“The new plans, which remove the bar from the design, should take away any concerns nearby residents had in the past and from the time planning approval is given, the cinema could be operating within 13 to 15 months.

“This could bring it into line with the Cattle Market development, so it would be a big boost for the town to open the multiplex at the same time.”

Planning permission for the cinema and associated food outlets was granted in December 1998, but a controversial bar included in the original scheme has now been dropped.

Cine-UK must, therefore, seek fresh approval from the council for the modified proposals.

But campaigners who vigorously fought the original plans for a multiplex in Bury St Edmunds warned they might consider a second course of legal action to halt the scheme again.

For pensioners Marjorie and Peter Davidson, backed by Abbeygate ward councillor Brian Lockwood, took the council to judicial review over its original decision to grant planning permission for the scheme, successfully cutting short the project.

Mr Lockwood, who has always felt the cinema was sited wrongly, said: “I am sure the residents will take the council to court again if necessary - I cannot see them just giving up.

“The cinema is in the wrong place. I have always felt the multiplex should be on the Cattle Market site and there is no reason why it cannot be.”

No-one from Cine-UK, which owns and operates Cineworld Multiplex Cinemas, was available for comment yesterday.

n Brian Lockwood is standing for election in the Abbeygate ward on St Edmundsbury Borough Council in today's elections. The candidates are: Michael Ames (Ind), Paul Farmer (C) and Brian Lockwood (Ind).

Ray Nowak is standing for election in the Minden ward on St Edmundsbury Borough Council in today's elections. The candidates are: Margaret Charlesworth (C), Colin Muge (L), Ray Nowak (L) and Derek Speakman (C).

liz.hearnshaw@eadt.co.uk

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