Matlock cinema plans hit by further delays

A Derbyshire town’s planned new cinema will not be “exemplar” and may be delayed by six months v.1

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 10:57 am
Matlock Market Hall in Bakewell Road has been described by councillors as an “eyesore”, “ugly” and “depressing”.
Matlock Market Hall in Bakewell Road has been described by councillors as an “eyesore”, “ugly” and “depressing”.

A Derbyshire town’s planned new cinema will not be “exemplar” and may be delayed by six months.

At a Derbyshire Dales District Council meeting last night (July 5), members were told that while the initial aim had been to have the planned Matlock Market Hall open by Christmas, this would not be met.

Giles Dann, the council’s economic development manager, told councillors that due to budget constraints and the state of the market hall, “this will not be an exemplar project”.

After nearly two decades of talks, the planned cinema, operated and fitted by an undisclosed business which is sharing costs, may not open until summer 2022.

This is, in part, due to delays caused by redesigning the plans and also to ensure the business opens at the best time to be clear of Covid-19 risks.

A summer opening would mean the proposed two-screen cinema is less likely to have to close or have measures in place which would restrict business.

The council has already committed to spend up to £800,820 on the market hall project, which would also include a 50-cover restaurant.

A further £48,000 has also been set aside as a contingency for any unpredicted costs.

Mr Dann told the meeting that due to the impacts of Covid “being frank, I don’t think costs are going to go down” and said costs could increase in the later stages of the project.

However, he said the scheme was currently on track to remain within the agreed funds set aside for the project.

Councillors worried that the proposed operator of the cinema may pull out if the project continued to be delayed, but Mr Giles said the firm remained committed.

The council has previously disclosed that the cinema would create 18 direct full-time jobs and lead to other jobs being created in the town.

It has also said that the authority will break even on its investment in year 13, meaning it will take 13 years to see a profit.

One of the proposed cinema screens would have 67 seats while the second would have 89 seats. There would also be a concessions stand for snacks.

Next door there would be a 200 square metre cafe and restaurant which is expected to have around 50 covers.

Both businesses would be housed in the existing concrete market hall building, which councillors have described as an “eyesore”, “ugly” and “depressing”.

The council had originally planned for a “bigger and bolder scheme” but the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership had deemed it an “unworthy project”.

This wider scheme had included  a two-screen cinema, cafe, two small shop units and a community and leisure facility.

The leisure facility would have been housed under the eaves of the bus station overhang.

Council papers have said the scheme could increase footfall in Matlock by 37,704 a year in the first two years, with £659,816 in extra annual town centre spending, while the cinema operator expects 58,000 visitors a year.