Hammer blow for film lovers as cinema set to remain closed until 2022

Sutton Coldfield's Empire Cinema has confirmed it could be more than nine months until it reopens again.

The Empire Cinema
The Empire Cinema

The historic cinema has been closed for more than 10 months and a spokeswoman for Empire has now revealed it won't open until the middle of next year, at the earliest, as owners look to raise money to pay for "extensive renovation work."

A statement from Empire said the company hope to redeploy staff with MP Andrew Mitchell talking to Chief Executive of Empire Cinemas, Justin Ribbons, in a bid offer assistance, moving forward.

The statement said: “As you are aware the Empire Cinema at Maney Corner Sutton Coldfield did not reopen as planned in May following a number of concerns that came to light during our preparations.

"It became apparent that the building, which dates from the 1930’s and is a listed building, requires extensive renovation to bring it into the 21st century and to be able to provide the type of customer experience that our visitors demand.

"Over the last three months as part of the plan to fund these works, we have been working with a developer on the potential redevelopment of the car park.

"Once this development is approved and funding secured, we will bring forward plans to refurbish the cinema. This means therefore, that unfortunately the cinema will not be reopening for at least another nine months.

"We are currently in discussion with the team in the hope to redeploy them within the business. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have supported us over the years and look forward to welcoming you back in the not too distant future.”

Earlier in the year, Mr Mitchell MP backed Empire’s bid for funds from the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England, which was administered by the British Film Institute but the company did not secure funds from the scheme.

Mr Mitchell said: “I know that the cinema is much loved by many locally, it is an important source of employment, as well as providing support to the local economy in terms of improving footfall and increasing customers for local shops and restaurants.

"I have received reassurances that the company does intend in the medium term to reopen the cinema. However, as the cinema is in an older building with some older technical equipment, the company is unable to reopen the cinema in its current condition.

"Empire hopes to bring forward plans which should enable the necessary works and allow the building to reopen again. I will be following this closely over the coming months and I have offered my support and assistance to ensure that the cinema can re-open again once the necessary works have been completed.”

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News