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Wheelchair users unable to visit Picturehouse cinema in Elwick Place in Ashford

By Georgia Woolf

Wheelchair users are unable to access a multi-million pound cinema - despite it opening almost a month ago.

The Ashford Picturehouse opened at the £75m Elwick Place development in December but without any working lifts.

All six screens in the new cinema are located on the first floor of the building and can only be accessed by using the stairs.

Elwick Place opened in Ashford last year. Picture: Paul Amos
Elwick Place opened in Ashford last year. Picture: Paul Amos

One resident, who lives close to Elwick Place, says the problem is also affecting people with pushchairs.

He said: "I'd been looking forward to it and it's a brilliant thing to have in the town, it's just a shame they seem to rushed finishing it before Christmas.

"I have a young child with a pushchair so it is an inconvenience and also a bit concerning having to leave the pushchair down in the lobby rather than take it up with me.

"They say it's been finished on time and on budget, despite it not being finished with the lift, paving out front, the zip-wired barrier to a set of stairs to act as a barrier to a 3ft drop."

Inside the Picturehouse. Picture: Paul Amos
Inside the Picturehouse. Picture: Paul Amos

After almost a month since it opened, Picturehouse Ashford has confirmed that the lifts will be installed over the coming week.

A spokesman said: "We always schedule lift installation before the opening date of our cinemas however in this rare and unfortunate case, due to circumstances beyond our control and because of the seasonal working hours of our contractors, essential safety tests and overrunning building works regrettably left us with this situation.

"We know this is far from acceptable and we sincerely apologise for any disappointment caused.

"It has been treated as an urgent matter and measures are being put in place to ensure this does not occur again.

"We are relieved to say that the lift installation is imminent and will be ready to use in the coming week.

"Our team have been working hard to communicate directly and compensate those unable to use our cinema and we look forward to finally welcoming them to Ashford Picturehouse."

Twitter users have voiced concerns on social media (6413968)
Twitter users have voiced concerns on social media (6413968)
One user reached out to Ashford Borough Council (6413970)
One user reached out to Ashford Borough Council (6413970)

In 2012, Cineworld - which already has a cinema on the Eureka Leisure Park - snapped up the Picturehouse chain in a deal worth £47.3m.

Developed by Stanhope Plc, the new cinema is part of the £75m Elwick Place leisure complex, which also features a Travelodge hotel.

Space for eight new restaurants was included in the plans, but bosses have been unable to fill any of the units after facing a "challenging period".

The development is one of Ashford Borough Council 'Big 8' projects to improve the town.

To speak to the Cineworld Picturehouse customer care team, call 0207 2947908 between 9am to 8.30pm

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