The chairman of the town centre residents’ association in Corby is seeking assurances from the developers about the proposed new cinema.
Barry Nichol said residents wanted confirmation of how Crown House was to be demolished and what safeguards would be taken, especially as many buildings of a similar age have asbestos in them.
Mr Nichol said: “We want to know what impact the work is going to have on local residents, what safeguards will be implemented and what risk assessments will be carried out.
“We’ve been sent reams and reams of health and safety advice by the planning department that means nothing to anyone.”
Mr Nichol is also concerned that the town centre cannot cope with the extra people and traffic the planned development, which would include an eight-screen Vue cinema as well as restaurants, will generate. He said: “The infrastructure in Corby is terrible, how will it cope with the extra people, and how will it be policed? Town centre residents only get some respite on a Sunday afternoon at the moment but that will be one of the busiest times for the cinema.
“We think it will be fantastic for the town to have a cinema but don’t know why the council didn’t offer Vue the George Street site which has already been cleared and has been vacant for 18 months.
“That would be a much better site for a cinema. It seems as though once again Corby Council has fallen out with the town centre owners.”
The town’s MP, Andy Sawford, gave the news a cautious welcome. He said: “There are two potential sites for a cinema in the town centre and it is good to hear that cinema operators are now competing to come to Corby, but talk is cheap and what we really want is for an operator to get on, sign a deal and start building because the sooner a cinema is open the better.”
Commenting on town centre owners Helical Bar’s announcement, the leader of Corby Council, Tom Beattie, said: “Corby Council welcomes the proposal from Helical Bar and we now await the submission of their planning application.
“We are aware that Mulberry Developments continue to seek an operator for their scheme, which already has the benefit of planning permission.
“The level of interest shown by various cinema operators is fantastic for Corby and shows real success in continuing to attract investment for the town in what remain difficult economic times.
“A cinema development will widen the entertainment and retail offer of the town centre even further.
“We look forward to delivering on our commitment to providing a cinema, thereby giving the people of Corby what they want.”
Odeon scheme delays
Corby Council has been in discussions with Mulberry about building an Odeon cinema on the the old Tresham College campus in George Street and set aside £500,000 to cover the cost of demolition work.
However, plans stalled when the cinema chain was put up for sale, meaning Mulberry couldn’t finalise the deal.
The site has remained untouched since it was cleared last year.