Derbyshire Dales District Council has given the green light to move ahead with the next stage of work to enable development of a new cinema in Matlock in its under-utilised market hall, firing the starting gun in the Council’s fightback against the economic impact of Covid-19.
At an extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday (25 November) councillors voted in favour of bringing forward plans for the new indoor leisure attraction for Matlock and also for enclosure of part of the covered bus bay area as a food & beverage unit – to support the project’s viability.
An experienced cinema operator partner will help take the project forward and the two screens will have capacities of 89 and 67 seats. The Council is also working with Derbyshire County Council to bring forward improved provision for buses and bus passengers on part of the site.
The scheme is subject to further negotiation with key parties, planning approval and agreement of terms.
Public consultation on a draft development brief for the site revealed that the majority of respondents felt the project would improve the experience of town centre users and encourage people to spend more time there. Thanks to a planned investment of more than £800,000 from the Council, a new improved gateway to Matlock town centre could be in place by the end of 2021.
Council Leader Councillor Garry Purdy said: “The Council believes this is exactly the right time to be doing this. Investing in Matlock’s regeneration now means the cinema will be open in a year’s time, when the post-Covid leisure market will be ready to grow. By putting in its own money, and doing so during the pandemic, the District Council is sending a strong signal in support.”
Wednesday’s meeting was told that a survey conducted at three of the proposed cinema operator’s existing sites found that 76% of users travelled five miles or less to visit and that 71% visited the cinema at least once a month. This indicated that small independent cinemas tended to have a very local market…
Main image: blueprint (planning). Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash