Cinema and restaurant plan to progress in bid to keep high street 'ahead of the game'
PUBLISHED: 19:30 13 March 2019
WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL/HARRIS PARTNERSHIP
Proposals to bring a cinema and restaurant complex to Newmarket have won overwhelming support from town leaders.
West Suffolk’s joint executive – cabinet members from both Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils – on Tuesday agreed to pursue the outline business case to establish the complex at The Guineas Shopping Centre.
Council chiefs said it would fulfil a need “long campaigned for” by the people of Newmarket and provide a significant economic boost.
“We are responding to a long stated desire by the people of Newmarket and the surrounding area for a cinema complex,” said councillor Lance Stanbury, portfolio holder for planning and growth at Forest Heath District Council.
“If we manage to land this project in Newmarket this will be very gratefully received.
“We wouldn’t be looking at this unless there was significant interest from an operator.
“Looking at the wider implications one can see where it is has wider benefits.
“It will mark a significant injection into the nighttime economy.
“It’s a very positive message we can give to the people of Newmarket and beyond.”
Mr Stanbury said a full business case will be submitted later in the year for the new West Suffolk Council to consider.
He added that it will be a “fitting finale to Forest Heath’s ambitious track record of investment in Newmarket, and drives the future of the town centre and the town”.
Executive also unanimously agreed to fund up to £190,000 for further design and study work, alongside an additional £20,000 for a condition and options review of the Guineas multi-storey car park.
Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, cabinet member for housing and deputy leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “It brings us a step nearer to providing a further leisure offer in Newmarket which has been sadly missing.
“We all know high streets are changing and if we don’t keep up and keep ahead of the game these streets will die.
“It’s not just about shops now, it’s about the leisure offer.
“To bring people into town after work can only be beneficial to Newmarket.”
While the council is taking the lead on starting the funding, it is understood that a commercial operator will get involved and run the cinema.
It follows viability studies commissioned in 2017, and if a final business case is funded could result in a planning application before the council by the end of 2019.