New cinema set for go ahead

A LONG awaited multi-million pound cinema complex for Bury St Edmunds looks set to be given the go ahead this week.The decision on the eight-screen multiplex cinema and other smaller retails units at The Parkway, will be made on Thursday and planning officers are recommending the plans be approved.

A LONG awaited multi-million pound cinema complex for Bury St Edmunds looks set to be given the go ahead this week.

The decision on the eight-screen multiplex cinema and other smaller retails units at The Parkway, will be made on Thursday and planning officers are recommending the plans be approved.

If the plans go ahead as expected, Cine UK Limited will build the new complex – with a seating capacity for 1,476 movie goers – within the next five years.

St Edmundsbury councillor and Independent group leader Mike Ames has now urged fellow councillors to back the scheme without delay.


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He said: "We need to approve these plans as soon as possible to provide the town with a fantastic facility.

"I am very much in favour of the plans. The cinema would improve the vitality of the town and would be an environmental improvement. There should be no more delays and I we should approve the plans immediately, it is what the people want and have been left waiting too long for."

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Although those who have long campaigned for a new cinema will be delighted by the latest recommendation, others have been calling for the plans to be thrown out because of the "bland" design of the complex.

Several groups, including the influential Suffolk Preservation Society, have criticised the design of the proposed cinema complex and say plans should be thrown out.

Society director Richard Ward said: "The proposed design is like an 1930s shopping mall and is very bland. We should be trying to create something modern and exciting. If constructed it will probably be seen as a mistake and a missed opportunity. We think the council should not approve this scheme in its current form."

Despite the objections over the design, planning officials are recommending the plans be approved provided that the Secretary of State does not require the application to be referred to him.

A report to go before Thursday's development control committee says: "As the town expands, it is inevitable that additional facilities will need to be developed to meet the requirements of a growing population.

"Bury St Edmunds presently has a two-screen cinema in Hatter Street; seating capacity is limited to 313, as is the number of films that can be screened. For enhanced choice, residents have to travel to multiplex facilities in Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich and further afield. It is because of the limited cinema provision within the town and to avoid people having to go out of town for leisure/entertainment that an objective of the borough council's corporate plan is to support and facilitate the development of a multi-screen cinema in Bury St Edmunds."

Even if the plans are approved the Secretary of State has the power to call in the application because it is a departure from the Local Plan. This is not expected to happen as he did not feel it necessary to call in the last cinema application, which has now been amended.

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