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Multiplex Cinema Hopes for Haverhill

Wednesday, 21st June 2006.

Proposals for a £9.25 million investment by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in a five-screen multiplex cinema in Haverhill will be discussed by the Cabinet next week.

The Cabinet is being asked to recommend to full council that £2.5 million is taken from the £10 million set aside for the Haverhill masterplan to fund the project, alongside a further borough council investment of £6.75 million. The potential investment depends on the successful completion of negotiations with a leading UK cinema operator.

The site for the proposed multiplex development lies next to the town’s Leisure Centre in Ehringshausen Way, on a stretch of land in front of the all-weather pitch. If the project wins approval from full council and the leading UK cinema operator, the 17,500 sq ft complex would seat between 900 and 980 people and also include four commercial units. These are likely to be filled by top national chain restaurants, including a drive-through, and a shop dedicated for leisure use. The development would bring a new leisure quarter to the town which would kick-start the area’s evening economy while also providing employment for local people.

If funding for the cinema is approved, it is hoped two car parks will be created to serve it. The spaces created would add to the existing provision in the area while also replacing a number which would be lost as a result of the construction. The car parks may offer the potential for dual use at a later date for a park and ride scheme.

Apart from delivering a facility which has consistently been number one on the wish list for Haverhill residents, the development would also provide a new public square and would uplift the southern end of town close to the Jubilee Walk area, which will soon to be regenerated by St Edmundsbury, also as part of the Haverhill masterplan.

Cllr John Griffiths, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Leader, said:
"This is a tremendously exciting time for Haverhill and the level of our proposed investment shows how serious St Edmundsbury's commitment is to transform Haverhill's town centre. If this cinema gets the go-ahead from the operator and full council - and I am very hopeful it will receive the support it deserves - then the dream that people in this town have told us about so often will be turned into reality."

Cllr Jeff Stevens, Chairman of the Haverhill Area Working Party, added:
“A huge amount of negotiation has been going on behind the scenes over the past few months. The scheme which has been drawn up will delight people of all ages in and around Haverhill and I hope it will receive the necessary backing from the cinema operators and all of St Edmundsbury's councillors. The masterplan is now well and truly in action. What is so exciting is that the complex would not only deliver the leisure facilities our residents have been crying out for, but will also transform that part of the town centre and bring a huge uplift to the area."

If the cinema wins financial backing, it is hoped a planning application can be submitted by the autumn. Construction work is estimated to take 18 months, giving a potential opening date in the summer of 2008.

The proposals set out the capital investment by St Edmundsbury and also the return the council can expect to receive. It is anticipated that the loss of interest from the capital spent to construct and fit out the multiplex will be compensated by the income received from renting the cinema and restaurants to the operator.

Cllr Griffiths said:
"We spend the capital and get a good return on our investment which gives Haverhill residents a cinema at little or no cost to St Edmundsbury's Council Tax payers. That has to be a win-win for everybody so I am looking forward to hearing the news that this project will get all the backing it needs."
St Edmundsbury Borough Council

Haverhill Online News

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