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Sittingbourne's New Century cinema will be open for business

By Hayley Robinson

After being closed for almost six years the town’s disused cinema is set to reopen its doors in three weeks.

The upper floor area of the building has been redecorated and the latest digital projection equipment installed so the newest films and biggest blockbusters can be shown at New Century.

Its first screening will be a preview on Wednesday, January 28, of Disney’s Big Hero 6 followed by normal general release shows from Friday, January 30.

The town auditions will be held at the Mecca bingo hall
The town auditions will be held at the Mecca bingo hall

Operator Ashley Whyatt, who runs a smaller independent cinema in Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, started the Sittingbourne venture after noticing a nine-year lease was being offered for the venue, on the corner of the High Street.

After securing it, he had hoped to start showing movies before Christmas but his plans were pushed back due to changing the audio system and clearing rubbish from the site.

He said: “I’m not made of money but having said that I think people will be very impressed with it and want to be part of it.

“The screen is now 40% bigger and the audio system sounds good.

“We will open as one screen to start with but we’re already getting on with number two.

“We will do that once we are happy we’ve got it right but it’ll probably be in about two to three months.

“Sittingbourne is a big town, it deserves to have a cinema.

“Tickets will be £3 and £4 maximum, so great value for money.

“As for jobs, it’s difficult to say [how many will be created] at the moment.

“I don’t want to predict it will make lots of money so I don’t want to promise lots of jobs will be created.”

Odeon could be coming back to Sittingbourne in the form of a seven screen multiplex
Odeon could be coming back to Sittingbourne in the form of a seven screen multiplex

With proposals being drawn-up for a seven-screen multiplex cinema as part of the town centre’s regeneration plans, it means film-goers could soon be spoilt for choice.

Vue Cinemas and Odeon are both believed to have expressed an interest in operating it.

He added: “If they come in, they come in but they’ve got to build it and choose which company goes in there.”

For more details about New Century Cinema, visit www.cinemasittingbourne.co.uk

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