A businessman’s plan to open a new cinema in Oswestry has taken a major step forward.

A planning application has now been lodged with Shropshire Council to convert the former Salvation Army headquarters in King Street to a one-screen cinema.

Trevor Harris, who ran the popular Regal Cinema in the town, is acting as a consultant for the project. He said the new cinema would show films as they were released, including the major blockbusters.

He said: “We have done a lot of preparation work and the planning application has now gone in. We hope to get our answer in the next six weeks.

“We don’t see why the application should have any difficulty. The venue is in the town centre and there is ample car parking only a few minutes’ walk.

“We commissioned sound experts to ensure people living in the area would not be inconvenienced. Their findings were very interesting – it seems there is more noise in the street already from lorries and vans and coaches than would ever be heard from a cinema.

“It is expected the cinema will have about 130 seats, so there won’t be a problem with too many people leaving the building at one time at the end of a film. When the Regal was at its busiest, with three screens, we would have hundreds of people leaving at the same time, and we never had a single issue with that.

“I have been involved in the cinema business all my life and have spoken at length to film distributors, and the plan is we would show all the major films as and when they were released. For instance, if we had been able to open in December, we would have been able to show the new Star Wars film when it came out.

“We know there is already a cinema in town with Kinokulture, but we see this one as catering for a totally different customer base. We don’t have a cinema in Oswestry showing major films as they are released – we don’t have too much entertainment to offer families, in fact.

“We would be operating in different markets – we wouldn’t be in competition with them at all.”

Mr Harris (pictured) said the business people behind the project were hopeful of being able to open the new cinema within ‘a couple of months’ of permission being granted by Shropshire Council.

A lot of work would need to be done to the interior of the building, installing new walls, a reception area, seating and a modern digital film and sound systems. That work would be likely to cost ‘many thousands of pounds’, Mr Harris said.