Residents don’t want cinema on our street

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It is true that Paul Carr and Esther Patterson, who plan to open a cinema, restaurant and bar on North End, Wirksworth, have consulted neighbours (“Couple gets silver screen plan rolling”, Matlock Mercury, 27 September).

It is also true that at a meeting of 24 residents of North End and nearby streets at the Baptist Rooms, Coldwell Street, Wirksworth, on 24 September, only one spoke in favour of the project. The meeting was wholeheartedly against it - on the grounds of traffic and pedestrian congestion, noise and disturbance, both during the day and at night (including Sundays).

The interior of the proposed 62-seat cinema might be successfully soundproofed, but North End, acoustically, is a narrow, reverberating canyon of terraced houses fronting the street.

The proposed cinema is on a 200 yard stretch that is a one-lane highway for most of the time due to parked cars.

There is already a twice-daily traffic jam there caused by the school run, when drivers at both ends of the single lane are sometimes obliged to leave their vehicles to ask drivers queueing behind them to reverse.

From traffic figures for some 13 screenings and nine other events per week, supplied by Paul at a neighbour’s request, I calculated that the cinema would generate about 1,830 extra vehicles per month, and asked Paul for clarification, including how many vehicles he estimated would use North End.

Back came different traffic statistics - for only 10 screenings and two other events per week - from which I projected a monthly 660 extra vehicles, of which 404 would use North End.

Do we throw our hats in the air and express gratitude that crowds attending the cinema would be kept as small as possible? Hardly. These are mere estimates and every commercial enterprise - shop, restaurant, cinema - needs to maximise trade.

Even if customers were directed to nearby car parks and observed the good neighbour policy proposed by Paul and his wife, Esther, chance customers would inevitably cruise the area in search of parking space, cars and taxis would try to drop off and then pick up customers before moving on, taxis would sound their horns in order to alert their “fares” and how often would crowds coming out shout their approval of the film and sing movie theme tunes, especially having been lubricated at the bar?

What’s more, there would be no smoking area - except the street.

A cinema in Wirksworth? Brilliant idea. But not if it causes intolerable disturbance, as this one would.

Fortunately, Esther has promised that if the neighbours are against the project, it will be dropped.

I expect an announcement to this effect shortly.

John Windsor

North End