Ipswich: First look at what new cinema could look like

A PUBLIC consultation has been held to get opinions on plans for a �7million development in the Buttermarket Centre.

In May, The Ipswich Star revealed that nationwide cinema operator were in discussions with the owners of the Buttermarket to convert the department store unit – left empty when TJ Hughes collapsed last year – into a cinema.

On Saturday, residents were given an insight into the plans which would completely transform the Buttermarket.

The plans, which are yet to be submitted to the borough council, would see the nine screen cinema seat 1,200.

Darren Hutchinson, of Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, the landlords of the centre, said: “We will also create a number of family restaurants to complement the cinema and provide our customers with an exciting leisure destination for the town.

“In addition to the cinema and restaurants the �7m project will see the centre create secure evening parking.

“The works will include the reinstatement of the first floor atrium out towards St Stephens Lane to bring more daylight into the Centre and further cosmetic work to improve the Buttermarket and its facilities.”

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He said he was currently preparing a detailed planning application which would be submitted to the council.

The news comes following the closure of Cafe Giardino.

But a number of units have also been taken up with Fun Learning Ltd moving in to what was formerly Hawkins Bazaar and Holland & Barrett taking up the unit which had been the Sony Centre.

The potential cinema site has had a chequered history since it opened in 1992.

After failing to persuade the John Lewis Partneship to take the store, the developers signed a deal with Liverpool-based Owen Owen. The store was sold to Allders in 1996, before going into administration in early 2005 and closing. Later that year the bottom two storeys were taken over by TJ Hughes who also went into administration last year.

n What do you think of the plans? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters @archant.co.uk