Town to lose cinema

IPSWICH'S Odeon cinema is to close next month, the Evening Star can reveal today.The 14-year-old cinema is shutting because it can no longer compete with the UGC and other leisure opportunities in the town.

IPSWICH'S Odeon cinema is to close next month, the Evening Star can reveal today.

The 14-year-old cinema is shutting because it can no longer compete with the UGC and other leisure opportunities in the town.

The site has been sold to a local property developer, and the Star understands that it is unlikely to remain as a cinema.

The five-screen cinema opened after a complex deal was set up which enabled the borough council to take over the neighbouring Regent theatre.

A statement from the Odeon group said: "This follows a review of the site during which it became clear that the cinema is no longer commercially viable."

The company was not able to comment on what would happen to the staff employed at the cinema, although it is thought possible that some might be offered the chance to move to its new six-screen cinema which opened in Colchester two years ago.

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Cinema goers who attended its regular "senior citizens" film yesterday were warned it was the last such event at the Odeon.

A spokesman for Ipswich council, which runs the Film Theatre, said staff were aware that they were losing the screen hired from the Odeon but did not know any more about the cinema's future.

He said: "This is disappointing for the town but the main screen will remain in the Ipswich Film Theatre at the Corn Exchange for the foreseeable future."

In the longer term it is expected that the film theatre may move into its own premises as part of the university development – but that is likely to be many years away.

Former Odeon and Gaumont manager David Lowe retired as the cinema moved into the new building, but felt it was a sad day for Ipswich.

He said: "Odeon has been a name in the town for many, many years and I am very sorry to hear about this."

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