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.
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.
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