Cinema complex on way to Walsall town centre bringing 200 jobs

A nine-screen cinema complex including restaurants and bars will be built in Walsall town centre, creating up to 200 jobs, under plans revealed today.

An artist’s impression of how the new complex could look
An artist’s impression of how the new complex could look

The Littleton Centre would be built next to the multi-million pound Tesco.

New shops and retail space would also form part of the 45,000 sq ft development.

Midland-based Cordwell Property Group is behind the £5 million scheme and bosses say it will be a “premier leisure destination”.

Under plans which have been submitted to Walsall Council, cinema group Vue would take on the film-showing operation, while there would be ground floor restaurants, bars and a retail unit. If planning chiefs give the go-ahead, work is expected to start later this year.

Tom Wilcox, development director at Cordwell, said: “We are delighted to have secured Vue in this high-profile town centre scheme which will add to the ongoing regeneration and provide employment opportunities for the town.

“We have been working hard with the council’s regeneration team over the past six months in order to develop the cinema scheme and bring it to fruition and we are in discussions with several national restaurant brands regarding the ground-floor space. In terms of the number of jobs created, it’s likely to be in the region of 180 to 200, as the cinema alone will be employing 65 full and part-time staff.”

Geoff Moore, director of development and construction for Vue, said the company was excited to be part of the scheme.

He said: “The state-of-the-art cinema will be designed to create the most exciting cinema going experience in the area.”

St Matthews Councillor Mohammed Arif has welcomed the scheme.

He said: “This is something we are missing in the town centre and it’s a job creation opportunity.

“It will bring more customers into the town centre. It will attract a younger audience.

“A number of shops are vacant but this will hopefully encourage people to take up some of the empty shops. It will give the area a shot in the arm.”

It comes as plans have been submitted to demolish buildings fronting High Street, Digbeth and Lower Hall Lane in order for a large restaurant and 11 shops to be built, with the promise of around 200 jobs.

The £12 million plan has been submitted by Norton & Proffitt Developments, the joint venture between St Modwen and Goold Estates Ltd.

There are also plans in line for a transformation of the Old Square shopping centre, which will see a new Primark and Co-op open. Walsall already has one cinema.

Showcase is based outside of the town centre in Bentley Mill Way, Bentley, while cinemagoers also travel to Cineworld at Bentley Bridge, Wednesfield.

Before that, the previous town picture house was in the old Woolworths building at the top of Park Street.

It eventually closed in 1993 after more than 50 years.

When Woolworths closed, there were calls for the prominent building to return to a cinema.

But it reopened as TJ Hughes before that store closed down and it became Poundland.

The new Littleton Centre would stand opposite Walsall College’s £64 million Wisemore Campus, which opened in 2010.

Comments for: "Cinema complex on way to Walsall town centre bringing 200 jobs "

Jonathan Parkes

The Cinema and Woolworths were completely different buildings just in the same place. The ABC was closed and one of Walsall's half baked regeneration schemes took place wiping clear the top of the town apart from the red lion and a couple of other bits. At least the rusty iron block street art did hang about too long.

The made problem for a cinema there is the fact it would be on the joke of a ring road which is more like a traffic light storage yard making Showcase and Cineworld possibly easier to get to for those outside the town centre.

To bring the town back to life, the pedestrianisation of large parts should be reversed to bring back passing trade and allow people to see the few shops we have got left that aren't huge with "Tesco" written on. Parking needs to be a priority rather than a revenue stream.

Please note that the concept of creating jobs though retail is critically flawed. Making new shops just closes old shops which really doesn't help anyone.

So all in all Cinema nice idea, Tesco will love it because everyone will have to park there.

Wedwolf

How come Walsall is managing to get all this investment (town wharf etc just been developed) whilst Wolverhampton council cannot attract even one decent chain restaurant to the town ie a cafe rouge, bella italia,

martin

Two things spring out here;

first, where would you park while you go to this lovely, new cinema? Using current facilities will add £3 or £4 to your film/popcorn experience, or £60 if you get your timings wrong. Parking is, of course, free at the Showcase

secondly, with Walsall having 'the second most empty shops in the region' (E&S, Sept 2012), do we need any more retail space to stand empty?

Or is the council going for 'Most empty shops in the region' so they can claim to be top of something?

Jack the hat

Yet again I hear about walsall getting more developement. I live in burntwood and we were promised a cinema and new shopping area but walsall apposed the plans so that was the end of that, but walsall who already has one cinema is allowed to build another one and more shops. With walsall being a deprived area how can people afford to shop in the town center the wharf and this new complex ?

High Heath bloke

Walsall gets development because it's a large, existing urban centre and to suggest it shouldn't get development because some areas are deprived is like saying Burntwood shouldn't get development because it is only a small village in the country, there are plenty of people with money to spend in Walsall, we just don't go there for reasons others have noted. If the parking issue can be resolved I think this will be a great asset for the town will get people going back there again. The showcase is a dirty hole, knock it down and return the land to industry and create some real jobs!

Local

I welcome this news not having access to a car I find it easier to go to the cinema in Birmingham than I do in Walsall. Surely attracting more younger people and jobs to the town centre is a good thing?!

Mark

Sounds nice but if you had a casino that would be quality no casinos in the centre!!!!!!!!!

Arjun Chand

What Walsall Council need to address in the WalsallTown centre is over 160 broken and cracked broken paving slabs outside many shops some of these have been left like this since 2009 and only a hand full repiared , Cllr Arif and Walsall Council, have been aware of these slabs for years even Walsall South Area Parttnership Area manager has been aware of the unsafe pavements outisde the shops - It is a disgrace they have been left like this fro years, We also have over 85 shops empty in Walsall Twon centre, Council have stuck Parking meters , all this is distracting shoppers coming to Walsall Town centre and effecting the business owers in the town .

Council have took away perfectly good benchs on Park street and put these Coffin like benchs, Trees have been planted in town centre which is waste of money that could been better making the Pavements safe outside the shops .

Have a Cinema in Walsall Town centre won't do muich for the town.it may cause more parking probelms ?

Wwe have a leaking roof for years in one of the shopping Acades in Walsall town centre all you see is buckets and barriers put last time saw 12 buckets .

Walsall Council , St Matthews Councillors & Walsall South Area Partnership needs to get the prorities right and start addressing and imrpoving the Town centre.

Harry Slipper

A cinema in Walsall is long overdue, Showcase is tired and shabby (sticky floors and uncomfortable seats) we use Cineworld at Bentley Bridge but would welcome a decent cinema nearer to home. I agree with the point about parking though it really needs a decent sized free or cheap car park, come on Walsall Council sort something out and lets get it built!

Vexed Vince

Town centre full of empty retail units. Solution: build more retail units!!

Richard Foster

Leisure facilities are long overdue in Walsall town centre. Good news at last for the town. But do we really have to have a cinema named after one of Walsall's slum landlord families? It's time to move on from the tyranny of the Bradfords and Littleton-Hatherton-Walhouses.