Sleaford town centre will get a new £4 million three-screen cinema with a restaurant and food court.
Some £1.5 million had already been dedicated for the regeneration project by North Kesteven District Council and they authority has now agreed an extra £2.5 million.
On top of the 300 seat cinema, plans also include public open space and a footbridge over the River Slea, connecting Money’s Yard to the Market Place.
It is estimated that the local spend on cinema tickets could be £750,000 a year which would generate an extra £1.5 million in spending on other goods and services in the town without including food and drink.
The investment was unanimously supported by Full Council last night (Thursday July 11).
Work will proceed on the design concepts and in processing a planning application for submission as soon as possible. Ultimately the build contract will be managed by the landowner.
A selection process will take place to find a cinema operator. No opening date has yet been scheduled.
Councillor Richard Wright, Leader of the Council, said the new building would be sited on unoccupied land, behind shops on Bristol Arcade and the complex of buildings alongside the Library, where recent work to enhance the historic frontages has just been completed.
“Local people continue to tell us that they want a modern multi-screen cinema and this proposal will deliver that as a central part of a major economic boost to Sleaford town centre.
“This is much more than a financial investment; it is a game-changer for Sleaford and a massive investment for the whole District. It is the fulfilment of a long-term aspiration for this Council and the people of the area and a commitment to the future vibrancy of our market town.”
As part of the design concept, the cinema construction will incorporate and regenerate the currently vacant and derelict historic vaulted Buttermarket to become a landmark building and contribute towards a visual focal point for central Sleaford.
“Another great plus for this scheme is that the new pedestrian bridge over the River Slea will help to regenerate this hidden part of historic Sleaford. We are also planning to invest in quality hard and soft landscaping to compliment the setting of the new cinema and food court. There will also be a public art feature to give a focal point and draw the eye of visitors from Market Place and Money’s Yard,” said Councillor Wright.
Funding towards an earlier scheme for a two-screen cinema was approved in April 2018, but it has now become clear that three screens are needed for the project to be economically viable.
“With the imminent opening of a five-screen cinema in Grantham and plans to increase the Kinema at Woodhall Spa to three screens, this underlines the need for three screens in Sleaford to enhance the town’s vibrancy and appeal. This development will be great for the evening and night time economy as it will draw lots of people into the town,” said Councillor Wright.