A new multi-screen cinema could be coming to Ipswich as part of a major redevelopment of the town’s Buttermarket Centre.
Nationwide cinema chain Vue is thought to be in talks with the owners of the old TJ Hughes department store into a cinema. However, neither the centre nor Vue will confirm or deny that the deal was under discussion.
It is thought that talks are ongoing with planning officials to try and find a use for the centre that will be acceptable to the people of Ipswich.
The property company Cornerstone runs the Buttermarket Centre and their director Darren Hutchinson said that there were currently no decisions made about the future of the former department store.
Mr Hutchinson said that he hopes that a consultation process with the people of Ipswich about plans for the centre will take place over the coming month.
In 2005, Ipswich was not considered large enough for a second multi-screen cinema alongside Cardinal Park Cineworld.
The Odeon at Major’s Corner closed in 2005 and the building has been empty ever since.
Vue has many cinemas within shopping centres nationwide. If the plans went ahead then the new Vue would be almost opposite the town’s film theatre which shows specialist and mainstream film releases.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has said that bringing Vue to the Buttermarket would be a shot in the arm for the whole town centre.
He said: “It would be magnificent if it happens. It is just what we need in the town centre.
“It would be a boost for all the pubs and restaurants in the town centre – and it would give a real shot in the arm for the early-evening life in the centre of the town, between 6pm and 9pm.
“I think it is the ideal place for a cinema – the problem with the Odeon was it was a bit out on a limb and there was no parking.
“At the Buttermarket there is parking on the site and people would be able to come out after a film and go for a meal at one of the restaurants and pubs that are nearby.
“It would also be good for Cineworld to have some competition.”