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IMAX cinema at Ashford Cineworld set to be approved

By Aidan Barlow

Film lovers could soon see the bigger picture if plans for a Kent's second IMAX screen and cinema expansion are approved next week.

Land Securities put forward the plans in June on behalf of Cineworld, which operates the 12-screen site at the Eureka Leisure Park in Ashford, off Junction 9 of the M20.

The cinema proposals, alongside plans for two new restaurants, will be discussed next week by Ashford Borough Council’s planning committee.

How the new site could look. Pic submitted to Ashford Borough Council by Mountford Pigott

The construction would stand twice as tall as the existing cinema building and would also house three extra screens.

Restaurants would be built at the front of the cinema complex and on land in front of the existing Pizza Hut restaurant. One would include room for 216 covers while the other would cater for 150.

The planned expansion also includes a new entrance and two new restaurants. Overhead pic from Google Earth

Parking at the site would also be expanded with the creation of new spaces behind the cinema, taking capacity from 907 to 930.

Video: How the new IMAX cinema could look

The plans were welcomed by council leader Gerry Clarkson, who said it was vital that planning processes were adhered to at the Eureka Park site.

He said: “That such a significant operator as Cineworld has submitted plans for an IMAX at Eureka should illustrate that Ashford continues to attract major investment. It is seen by investors as an integral part of their business models.”

How the new front entrance could look. Pic submitted to Ashford Borough Council by Mountford Pigott

He also highlighted how Cineworld will be behind the £75 million regeneration of the town centre with six new screens at Elwick Place, which was granted planning permission in December.

It will be opened under the boutique Picturehouse brand of the company and will also see the construction of a hotel and new restaurants in the town centre. It could be built by March 2018.

Cineworld director Kevin Frost said: “We are committed to bringing the best cinema choice to our Ashford customers.

The Cineworld multiplex at the Eureka Leisure Park in Ashford. Pic by Andy Jones

“That means providing both an out-of-town multiplex experience at Eureka Park, which will include the new IMAX and 4DX screens, and a boutique cinema offer in town with an outstanding food and beverage service.”

The planning committee will meet to discuss the plans at 7pm on Wednesday at the council chamber in Tannery Lane.

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