Cinema news big boost for the town

An artist impression of what the Vue cinema in Ipswich could look like
ES 27.9.12

An artist impression of what the Vue cinema in Ipswich could look like ES 27.9.12 - Credit: Contributed

AFTER all the delays on other major projects in the town centre, it is good news that the owners of the Buttermarket Centre are going ahead with the conversion of the former department store into a nine-screen Vue cinema.

I know there are those who doubt whether Ipswich can cope with 20 commercial cinema screens (as well as the two just over the road in the Film Theatre) but actually I’m fairly optimistic.

Cinema-going has increased dramatically over recent years. I go far more than I used to – okay I’m unlikely to use the Vue much because I have a Cineworld card, but it will add choice.

And the fact is that if Norwich can offer more than 30 cinema screens, I’m sure 20 screens will not be too many for Ipswich.

Already we see far too many films come and go too quickly before some of us have a chance to see them!

I’ve also heard it said that if there is going to be a new cinema in the town, why not refurbish the old Odeon building?

That sounds attractive but it’s not in the right place, isolated from the town centre with no nearby parking, and the building itself is in a very poor state after eight years of disuse that it would take a huge amount of money to bring it back to life.

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A Vue in the Buttermarket should lift that shopping centre and that part of the town centre generally – and I know bosses at Ipswich Central are delighted that the borough gave the green light for the change with as little opposition as possible.

It is also good to see that Cineworld responded by opening the IMAX at the end of last year and is now planning to bring in a new coffee shop at its multiplex on Cardinal Park (although I know some people who would rather it was not Starbucks after their tax affairs were exposed!).

I do hope, though, that the bosses at Cineworld will now respond to the competition by looking again at some of the seats and carpets in their cinema which are looking a tad tired after 15 years of regular use.

That is, however, a minor carp in comparison with the huge improvements we’ve seen – and will continue to see – to cinema offerings in the town.

The new Vue is set to become a major new attraction in the town centre – and it would really require a very jaundiced point of view to see it as anything other than a boost for the entertainment life of Ipswich as a whole.