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Plan for new independent Wolverhampton cinema not a threat, says Light House

By Richard Guttridge | Birmingham | Wolverhampton entertainment | Published:

Bosses at Wolverhampton's Light House insist they do not see the potential arrival of another independent cinema as a threat.

The Light House is based at the Chubb building in Wolverhampton

It came as plans for a new cinema in the old Argos store in the Wulfrun Centre were revealed by the Express & Star last week.

But the Light House said it would be "highly unusual" for another independent cinema to launch in the city centre.

The Light House has faced a battle to survive over recent years after losing a council subsidy but enjoyed a successful 2019 when more than 3,000 extra tickets were sold.

Chief executive Kelly Jeffs questioned whether another independent cinema could be successful in the city centre given the level of competition.

A large multi-screen cinema is also due to come to the city centre as part of the £55 million Westside development.

However, she said "anything that improves Wolverhampton’s cultural offer, particularly in the evening, has to be a good thing".

The cinema could be based in the former Argos store inside the Wulfrun Centre

Plans for the 350-seat cinema have been lodged with the city council by the owners of the Wulfrun Centre, LCP, in a bid to attract more visitors amid sliding footfall.

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Ms Jeffs said: "The Wulfrun Centre currently has 3,270sq m of space free and I do question whether LCP are casting about for ideas as to how to fill the old Argos store.

"Currently the centre is closed in the evenings and fitting out a digital cinema will be costly, particularly if they are going to try to compete with Cineworld’s new 4Dx at Bentley Bridge.

"Plans for a new multiplex in the city centre have been mooted for several years now, and an additional city centre cinema will have to consider the competition and how their brand will fit.

"It's highly unusual to be able to support two independent cinemas in a city centre; Birmingham is the UK’s second city and has just three.

"LCP haven’t yet revealed what style they’re going for, but as avid film fans we’re naturally looking forward to finding out. We don’t see the LCP plans as a threat and I’m sure they’ve done their homework."

Ms Jeffs added: "Those of us in the city’s cultural sector need to be able to communicate and pull together with the council more, to discuss how best to serve our communities."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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