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Cineworld in Ashford, Rochester and Dover reopen as work restarts on IMAX and 4DX screens at Eureka Park

Construction of a long-awaited IMAX extension has restarted as Cineworld bosses prepare to welcome back film fans today.

Work at the Ashford site on the Eureka Leisure Park was paused due to the coronavirus lockdown just weeks after contractors moved onto the land.

How the Ashford cinema could look from above, featuring the new entrance and extension to the left
How the Ashford cinema could look from above, featuring the new entrance and extension to the left

But the construction team has now returned to the cinema, which is showing its first film in more than four months this afternoon.

Cineworld'sĀ other sites in Kent - in Rochester and Dover - are also reopening today.

TheĀ chain says it is implementing a range of safety measures to allow film fans to return to its venues.

Social distancing measures will be put in place across all areas, with an updated booking system that allows friends and family to sit together while ensuring a safe distance between customers from different households.

Film start and end times will also be staggered to reduce crowds in foyers and corridors, while additional cleaning will be carried out between films.

Work has restarted on the Cineworld extension in Ashford
Work has restarted on the Cineworld extension in Ashford
Two restaurants will be built either side of Pizza Hut as part of the development
Two restaurants will be built either side of Pizza Hut as part of the development

Cineworld had previously announced it planned to begin screenings from July 10, but pushed back its reopening date last month.

When complete, the Ashford IMAX extension will also feature a lesser-known 4DX screen.

Movie fans will sit in high-tech motion seats which will move in synchronisation with the film, adding wind, rain, scent and other effects in line with the action on screen.

The development also includes two new restaurants either side of Pizza Hut - one in the cinema extension and another separate unit.

Ashford Borough Council approved the scheme in 2016, which also features a reworked entrance to the existing Cineworld, as well as tweaks to the car park.

How the development is set to look
How the development is set to look
Ashford's Cineworld has been shut for more than four months
Ashford's Cineworld has been shut for more than four months

Bosses initially had permission for three new screens, but lowered that to two in 2018.

They also plan to refurbish the 12 existing screens at the Ashford site, which first opened in 1999.

Signs have been put up confirming the works on the Eureka Leisure Park
Signs have been put up confirming the works on the Eureka Leisure Park
The IMAX and 4DX screens will go behind Pizza Hut
The IMAX and 4DX screens will go behind Pizza Hut

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