Published Friday 26 October 2018 at 12:37
Contractors have swung into action on a multi-million pound cinema and leisure complex in Blackburn.
Work is now well underway on the groundworks for the ambitious £10m scheme that will see an eight screen Reel Cinema created with VIP lounge, restaurants, bars and an undercroft car park.
The venture, on the site of the former Waves Water Fun Centre, will be the first of its kind in the country – bringing together a fusion of Hollywood, Bollywood and independent cinema.
Blackburn with Darwen Council is spearheading the project, which is a fundamental part of the regeneration the Northgate area of the town, with Reel signing a long lease to operate there.
Celebrating the first spade in the ground, Cllr Phil Riley, Executive Member for Regeneration, said:
The start of the works on this new cinema complex is pivotal for the future development of the Northgate leisure and cultural area of Blackburn town centre and I can’t wait to see it progress.
In a time when the Government is expecting councils to be financially self-sufficient, schemes like these are incredibly important to ensure we can generate income and support the delivery of services for our residents.
It’s fantastic to be working alongside Reel Cinemas Ltd and I’ve no doubt the complex will complement the area and prove a huge success.
Once completed by Barnfield Construction, the cinema will be home to the very latest in sound and visual technology and will sit alongside two restaurants and bars, boasting their own external terraces, which will be available to let.
The new terraces will overlook a new public square which will link the College to the planned work at Blakey Moor and King Georges Hall.
Reel’s owner, Kailash Chander ‘KC’ Suri added:
It’s fantastic that the groundworks have now started and it’s exciting to see the vision for the new cinema complex starting to become a reality.
We are working to create something really unique on this site and I couldn’t think of a more perfect location than here in Blackburn to host future Bollywood premiers.
In the meantime, new hoardings have been erected around the site perimeter while development gets underway.
Chairman and Managing Director for Barnfield Construction, which is undertaking the works, Tim Webber MBE said:
We are proud to be partners in developing this cinema complex, which is Blackburn’s flagship regeneration project.
We’re looking forward to delivering a really high quality build which residents in Blackburn and Darwen can be proud of and enjoy for years to come.
Did you know?
The cinema complex will include a bar, coffee shop, and a dessert bar/restaurant
People are going to the cinema more and more – there were 170.6 million cinema attendances in the UK in 2017. Box office revenues were up by 2.5% from the year before – to £1.277billion.
There were a list of 13 options for the Council to consider, including student accommodation, a car park, residential home for older people, college building, retail, gym, restaurants and bars. The cinema option scored highest for value for money and benefit cost ratios.
The British Film Institute (BFI) noted in 2017 that the North West has one of the lowest numbers of specialised screens in the UK at just 4.3% compared to the South East at 12.7%
The new carpark will provide much-needed new spaces for customers from all over Pennine Lancashire. It will also allow the existing Barton Street car park to be brought forward as another development opportunity in the future.