Chamber pledges support for Doncaster town centre cinema plan

Vacant land earmarked for the cinema development between Cast and St James' Baths.
Vacant land earmarked for the cinema development between Cast and St James' Baths.

Business leaders have pledged their support to plans to build a cinema complex in Doncaster town centre that could create up to 100 jobs.

A six screen, 1,600 seat cinema and four restaurants were originally due to be opened in spring 2016 alongside the existing Cast theatre in Sir Nigel Gresley Square.

An artists' impression of the original cinema plans.

An artists' impression of the original cinema plans.

It would have formed part of the £300 million Civic and Cultural Quarter but three years after plans were first announced - the land remains vacant.

However, council leaders are now planning to kick start the plans again and hope to have the cinema and restaurants complex built by September 2019 - with the project also creating up to 100 new jobs.

Doncaster Chamber has now thrown its weight behind the plans.

Dan Fell, chief executive officer, said: "The plan to develop a cinema and series of restaurants in the centre of Doncaster has the Chamber’s full support and endorsement.

Dan Fell.

Dan Fell.

"This scheme will create an increased footfall in the town centre which will be a boon to many local businesses; crucially, this will also help Doncaster diversify its evening economy."

Plans to rejuvenate the scheme were revealed in a report that is due to be considered by Doncaster Council's cabinet next week.

The report, led by Peter Dale, director of regeneration and the environment for the council, states: "This undeveloped site, once completed, will provide the citizens of Doncaster with a secure income stream, a new leisure venue, around 100 new jobs and encourage use of the surrounding leisure facilities by the increase in visitor numbers."

The cinema aspect was part of the original agreement between the council and developer Muse.

But the report states that the scheme stalled due to "Muse being unable to make it work commercially"

However, this agreement has now come to an end freeing up the council to step in and push forward with the plans.

The scheme already has planning permission and the authority would act as landowner, funder, developer and landlord of the completed development.

The idea would be to sell the cinema complex to the Savoy Cinema Group while five restaurant units would be retained by the council and let out. The report states it would also yield more than £500, 000 in business rates for the council.

The scheme already has £634, 000 earmarked from the Sheffield City Region Infrastructure Fund but the report adds there is "still a lot of work to do to finalise the total cost."

It is estimated the site could have a lifespan of around 50 years.

The report is recommended for approval and will go before the cabinet meeting at the Civic Offices on Tuesday, August 15, at 10am.