Stafford's new £6.5m Odeon cinema to open before Christmas
Stafford's long-awaited new £6.5 million cinema will open before Christmas it has been revealed.
Odeon bosses have broken their silence on the project with signage going up at the site of the proposed multi-screen complex announcing 'Coming Soon.... Winter 2018.'
Council bosses have welcomed the news. Borough leader Councillor Patrick Farrington said it had 'created a buzz' in the town.
The 400-seat cinema, on the banks of the River Sow, and on the site of the former Express & Star office, will have six screens showing the latest blockbusters.
But for months movie fans have been kept guessing about when the Bridge Street picture house will open. Building work started in March last year and the cinema had been due to open this June.
The project, part of the emerging £100m Riverside development, initially ran over schedule after issues with utility pipes and the foundations delayed the start of ground works.
More lengthy delays have caused frustration, with Odeon chiefs giving away nothing about the reason for the recent hold-up, saying only there were ‘still of a number of details to be finalised’.
However borough bosses have remained upbeat. Councillor Farrington visited the site a few weeks ago to see how work was progressing, and was hopeful an opening date would soon be set.
Today he said: "This is a very key development for our town centre and especially the night time economy.
"I was really glad to see the new signage on the cinema announcing its opening this year - and this has once again created a buzz, not just with our residents but with town centre businesses who will be keen to capitalise on the visitor numbers this exciting venture will bring.
"We are seeing significant amounts of investment in our borough which demonstrates the vision we, and our partners, have to create the right conditions for businesses and investors to locate in Stafford.”
The original plan for 800 seats was halved and the proposed complex became referred to as a 'luxury' venue. The new signage announces high-resolution 4K projectors, immersive screens, and with all seats reclining.
The town's former three-screen cinema, on nearby Newport Road, closed at the end of last year but was rescued by an independent firm and re-opened in the summer, with the new boss insisting there was a market for two cinemas in the town. The distinctive Art Deco-style building dates back to the 1930s.