The former BHS store in Union Street, Torquay (Image- Ed Oldfield - free for use by LDRS partners)

One empty shop makes way for 13 cinema screens in Torquay

A new 13-screen cinema has been approved for the former BHS store in Torquay town centre.

Merlin Cinemas was given planning permission to convert the empty shop into a multi-screen complex in Union Street.

Torbay council’s planning committee voted in favour after hearing it would help regenerate the area.

Conservative councillor Nick Bye, proposing approval, said: “Town centres have to a mixture of uses including leisure.”

Conservative Andrew Barrand said: “It will breathe new life into our night-time economy.”

The cinema will have 13 screens over three levels ranging from 23 to 120 seats and will be allowed to open from 8am to 3am.

The main entrance will be on the ground floor in Union Street, with three screens, a restaurant and ice cream bar.

There will be four screens and a party room in the basement, and six screens and a private bar on the first floor.

The meeting on Monday night was told that the nearby multi-storey car park in Lower Union Lane was mostly closed at 7pm.

Councillors agreed to seek a legal agreement to cover the costs of work to open more of the car park later.

Other conditions include improving the pedestrian link from Union Street to the car park and better CCTV and lighting in the area.

The police asked for the measures because of regular call-outs to Temperance Street and Lower Union Lane to deal with drugs and anti-social behaviour.

A condition includes counter-terrorism measures requested by the police such as bollards to prevent vehicles being driven into the entrance.

Another condition covers measures to prevent noise reaching nearby homes.

The company says the complex will have 10 full-time and 40 part-time staff.

It will move to the empty store from Central Cinema in Abbey Road which is expected to be redeveloped.

Merlin estimates the new cinema will bring in around 300,000 visitors a year.

A report to the committee recommended approval and said the development would improve the town centre, help regeneration and enhance the night-time economy.

The BHS store closed in the summer of 2016 and was taken over by Buyology which closed in January this year.

Source: Devon Online

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