Revealed - proposed site for new cinema

Reporter:

Colin Channon

This is the building which could become home to Oswestry’s newest cinema.

The former Salvation Army building, which was also J&I Carpets warehouse, has been earmarked as a new picture house.

Cinema specialist Trevor Harris, who owned the Regal in Oswestry, is acting as a consultant for a firm keen to open a cinema which would screen the big blockbusters as and when they were released.

Mr Harris, 77, said: “A planning application for a change of use for the building to become a cinema will be lodged with Shropshire Council very soon – hopefully later this week.

“It’s a fairly large building and it is thought about 130 or 140 seats could be accommodated there.

“Getting hold of the seats and a digital projector and other equipment isn’t a problem at all. I’ve been involved in the cinema business for 60 years and know a lot of people, and there is a lot of new and second-hand equipment available.

“Initially the firm behind the proposal wanted to get it up and running in time for the school holidays. But Shropshire Council can take up to eight weeks to make its decision, and once that is received, it will take between two and three months to do the work inside the building.

“We don’t foresee any problems. It’s a building in the town centre and there are a lot of car parks within five minutes’ walk.

“Noise won’t be an issue and there will be no disruption as people leave a screening. There will be 140 people at most – when I had the Regal, it had three screens with almost 700 seats in all, and we never had any complaints about people leaving after watching the films.”

Mr Harris hopes Shropshire Council will look favourably on the application.

“The new council leader, Peter Nutting, said he wants to do more to help market towns as they are falling behind, and this is a good opportunity for Oswestry,” he said.

“My fear is that if this plan doesn’t go through, Oswestry will never have a cinema like this. It’s our last chance.

“There are a lot of buildings on the industrial estate that are empty and would take very little work to convert to a cinema, but we have found they have to be for industrial use so we cannot go there.

“The town really needs something like this for all residents, as well as for the younger ones.”

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