A new cinema in Daventry Town Centre could open its doors to audiences in two years’ time after Daventry District councillors agreed an £8.2m budget to prioritise the scheme.
At Daventry District Council’s (DDC) annual council meeting Members approved plans to set aside the money from its capital reserves to progress the new leisure development north of High Street, Daventry – also known as Town Centre Vision Site 1 – with the possible addition of new bars and restaurants.
DDC has decided to build the cinema itself and not to extend its development agreement for the site with Henry Boot Developments Ltd (HBDL), which have been unable to bring forward the larger Mulberry Place shopping centre and cinema development due to the scheme’s financial viability.
HBDL will continue to focus on progressing the new retail park and hotel on land at Waterloo/Gasworks/Chaucer Way (known as TCV Site 5) which is also due for completion in 2020.
The Council is proposing to build the new cinema to the north of High Street, either to the rear of the current Argos building or on the current site of Daventry Library. Positive discussions are already taking place with Northamptonshire County Council on moving the library to more modern premises in The Abbey Centre in St John’s Square.
DDC is also continuing discussions with interested cinema operators for the scheme. In the meantime it is working with the Royal and Derngate which runs the Errol Flynn Filmhouse in Northampton to understand cinema operators’ needs.
A proposed timescale has now been drawn up for the scheme, which involves seeking planning permission and relocating the library by May next year, starting building work in summer 2019 and opening the cinema in autumn 2020.
Councillor Chris Millar, Leader of Daventry District Council said: “Thriving and successful town centres are becoming more driven by leisure activities, as an increasing number of people shop online or visit retail parks. We need to make Daventry a more attractive destination for people of all ages and a cinema is certainly part of that mix.
“This development will be great news for both the daytime and night time economy of our town. We know a new cinema is something that people would really like to see in Daventry and we’re determined to deliver this for them.”