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Council to discuss Newmarket cinema study results

The £50,000 study has remained secret because it contains commercially sensitive information(3649533)
The £50,000 study has remained secret because it contains commercially sensitive information(3649533)

Plans to bring a cinema to the centre of Newmarket are likely to be discussed by the leaders of Forest Heath District at the end of the year.

Council cabinet member Lance Stanbury, who is reponsible for the authority’s planning and growth portfolio, confirmed it had been continuing to talk to potential partners in the project since members had received a specially commissioned viability report looking at the prospect of a cinema in the town.

The £50,000 study was given the go-ahead by councillors in June last year but the contents of the finished report have remained secret because it contains commercially sensitive information the council is not at liberty to divulge to the public.

“We continue to work on establishing a viable business model that makes financial sense for all the parties that would need to be involved,” said Cllr Stanbury.

“We need to ensure that any proposed scheme is attractive for potential developers and operators, as well as providing a return to help deliver council services.

“In January, we received a viability report which helped us understand the constraints and implications for a number of potential town centre locations.

“We have used this commercially sensitive information to talk with potential partners and to test the market, and we look forward to reporting the results and any recommendations to Forest Heath cabinet at the end of the year.”

A new cinema for a town which once had two in the High Street has been at the top of residents’ lists of priorities for decades and a petition set up by campaigner David Rippington collected some 5,000 signatures.

When the former De Niro’s night club, which was once the Doric Cinema, was sold over three years ago, many believed the council had missed an opportunity to establish a retro-type cinema. But councillors were advised such an option would not be viable.

“Our ambition is for a town centre cinema that will attract families and individuals of all ages into the heart of Newmarket. It is a complex undertaking but one we believe would deliver the best results for the whole town. I look forward to sharing further progress presently,” said Cllr Stanbury.