REVEALED: Three preferred sites for new Spalding cinema

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A CINEMA operator is said to have signed a deal to run a six-screen venue in Spalding – and the man behind the agreement has set out his three preferred sites ahead of talks with council bosses.

A CINEMA operator is said to have signed a deal to run a six-screen venue in Spalding – and the man behind the agreement has set out his three preferred sites ahead of talks with council bosses.

Richard Garvie has set up Sustainable Spalding, a firm that aims to regenerate the town starting with a cinema, and says last week he entered into an exclusivity agreement with a leading cinema operator.

The terms of the contract mean that the operator cannot yet to be named but the deal means that the firm would run the cinema if cash can be found to build it.

The project is believed to cost £3.5million, but Mr Garvie (27) is confident that the cash will come as part of the planning development with a large scale plan which he says is waiting in the wings for the town.

He says the focus now falls on selecting the best site for a cinema in Spalding, and hopes to meet economic development officers at South Holland District Council to discuss the plans.

He said: “Getting an operator signed up was pretty much the easier part of the project, we now have to conclude an agreement for a suitable site and then release the funding through an enabling development.

“The site I would prefer for the cinema complex is the bus station site, allowing the existing bus stops to move to outside the railway station but I understand that site may not be available.

“There is another council-owned area at Victoria Street, which would be another good site in terms of access and parking so hopefully the council will work with us to get things moving with this development.”

The Lincolnshire Free Press understands that the former telephone exchange site in Gore Lane is a third choice for Mr Garvie, but that area has issues over access – sitting in the gap between The Crescent, Sheep Market and Market Place.

Sustainable Spalding says if everything goes to plan the cinema could be built as early as Christmas 2012.

It wants to conduct a public consultation in the town ahead of plans for the mystery “enabling” development, which Mr Garvie says could bring 450 jobs and £9m investment into the town.

Council bosses, readers and experts have expressed doubts over whether a cinema would be viable in Spalding.

However, plans were lodged earlier this year for a cinema in Wisbech as part of a £50m plan for a Tesco Extra and retail park in the town. The development there would be for an eight-screen cinema.