Debate on new Matlock cinema plans to be behind closed doors

Secrecy surrounds plans for a new cinema, shops, cafe and leisure facility in Matlock.

Thursday, 19th November 2020, 11:45 am

The proposals, which have been in the works for Matlock’s market hall and bus station for years, will now be debated behind closed doors with no access for the public.

A Derbyshire Dales District Council meeting is being held on November 25, but the only item of debate, the business case for the market hall and bus station plans, will be discussed in secret.

The agenda item is titled ‘Land at Bakewell Road, Matlock: Proposed conversion of Matlock Market Hall’.

The proposals would see Matlock's market hall and bus station redeveloped. Photo: Google Earth

It continues: “To consider approval of a business case for the proposed conversion of Matlock Market Hall, to enable provision of a new indoor leisure attraction and enclosure of part of the adjacent covered bus bay area, to provide an ancillary commercial use to support the regeneration of the town

“This report is exempt under the Local Government Act 1972 Schedule 12A paragraph 3 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person.”

The business case to be put forward next week will reveal the cost of converting and building the project, along with the running costs of the respective facilities when they are up and running.

It may also include details of the interested parties who intend to run the various businesses and at what cost they would rent their space.

The plan may also detail if other firms are sharing the cost of the build with the council and whether this would see profits shared.

It is also expected to include forecasts for when planning applications would be submitted to the authority and when it is suspected work will start and when the facilities could open.

The project has been formed and will be pushed forward using a substantial amount of taxpayer funds but all of this information remains under wraps.

Last month, the council revealed that it was to put up £800,000 to finance the conversion and building of the new facilities.

The council had said: “The property holds a prominent position at the entrance to the town centre from the west, and the proposed scheme provides the opportunity to create a significantly enhanced entrance to the retail centre.

“The underused market hall and adjacent bus bays at Bakewell Road represent the best and only realistic option for district council engagement in a town centre redevelopment.”

It has also put in a bid for funding to the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and said if this bid is successful it would not have to put up as much money.

A bid to government last summer for £25 million through its Future High Streets Fund would have seen money directed at the proposed cinema, shops, cafe and leisure facility.

However, this was unsuccessful.

The last time costs were put forward for the project was two years ago – in November 2018 – when experts Aspinall Verdi Ltd found that the overall build price could range from £2.8 million to £4.4 million.

Meanwhile, running costs were thought to range from £148,283 to £223,651.

The firm said that building a residential care home or houses would more likely to be financially viable, but would be heavily restricted by planning policies in the town centre.

A public consultation on the plans last year found that, of the respondents, 90 per cent backed the project, with half saying they never visit the market hall to shop.

Respondents and the Matlock Community Vision group suggest the adjacent Spa Villas car park, also owned by the council, should be absorbed by the proposed project, either providing more space for larger facilities or for public open space.

A draft design for the project showed the entrance to the proposed 435-square-metre two-screen cinema would be through the current market access of Bakewell Road, left of M&S Foodhall.

The proposed 135-square-metre cafe would sit next to it, further left, with access through what is currently the Spa Villas car park next to the bus station.

The two small shop units would be housed under the current overhang which covers the bus station.

Meanwhile, the 254 square-metre leisure and community facility would sit further to the back of the current car park also housed under the bus station overhang.