Six-screen multiplex cinema is coming to Dover
A contract has been signed to bring a multiplex cinema to Dover, the district council has announced.
It is hoped that the Cineworld project will help kick-start the redevelopment of the St James' Street area of Dover, which has been the subject of stop-go proposals for more than a decade.
Cllr Paul Watkins at the St James' Street area of Dover
It was six months ago that news was first revealed that there were plans to bring the cinema - which will have six screens and two restaurants - to Dover.
Council leader Cllr Paul Watkins said it would be a "major boost" to the town's economy.
"When it is built it will obviously be a great contribution to Dover's night-time economy and a major fillip to the town centre.
"We have been in negotiations with Cineworld, through the developers Bond City, for a long time. It has taken since the end of last year to complete the legal agreements."
Cllr Watkins said a planning application would be submitted "imminently" and the cinema will be in the area between Russell Street, Castle Street and Woolcomber Street.
Some changes will have to be made to the existing plans for housing, and compulsory purchase agreements would also have to be negotiated.
The Dover Town Investment Zone, which includes the empty Burlington House office block, has been at the centre of many proposals, but so far, little action.
Asda were going to be the anchor tenant of the scheme, but pulled out in 2010. Asda's property manager Tom McGarry said at the time that legal work around DTIZ had been going on for six years and it was clear the majority of the landowners on the site were not prepared to talk about sale of the land and a Compulsory Purchase Order would mean more delays.
Mr McGarry said the way the district council wanted to run the car park within the scheme was another stumbling block.
Asda subsequently opened a store at Charlton Green in Dover.
Ironically, in 2004, the council decided to delete any leisure facilities from the DTIZ proposal. The authority said it was "formulating a detailed leisure strategy to look at the provision of leisure facilities across the town as a whole".
The area due for redevelopment, framed by the archway of the ruins of St James' Church.
Less than two months ago councillors approved changes to redevelopment plans which will provide more than 10,000 square metres of new shops and residential development.
The whole site is bounded by Townwall Street, Woolcomber Street, Castle Street, King Street and Russell Street and includes land at Flying Horse Lane.
The latest application involved an increase of 68 square metres in the floor space of one of the main shopping units and five fewer car parking spaces.
Case worker Peter Wallace told the council's planning committee at the time: “The application seeks to transform the commercial offer in Dover,”
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