Corby could soon have two cinemas after a narrow vote at a crunch planning meeting saw a second cinema scheme approved.
The decision means cinema giant Vue now has permission to build an eight-screen venue between Elizabeth Street and Westcott Way.
The Vue plan, submitted by town centre owners Helical Bar, also includes restaurants and retail units, a gym and an MOT centre.
The site is less than half a mile from a six-screen cinema under construction near the Corby Cube, which is being built by the independent chain Savoy.
The Savoy cinema development includes space for three restaurants.
Tuesday’s meeting saw the Vue scheme win permission in a narrow vote in the council chamber.
Before the meeting there were concerns that Corby would not be able to support two separate cinemas, but an independent report was presented to the planning committee which said the town could accommodate both.
That report was written by consultancy firm Peter Brett Associates after Mulberry Developments, the firm behind the Savoy Cinema scheme, lodged its official objection to the Vue plan.
Mulberry said their own study had shown that there was demand for eight cinema screens in Corby, and that having a total of 14 would divide footfall and risk the viability of both cinemas.
However, the report compiled by Peter Brett Associates said: “We consider that the Helical Bar scheme would be unlikely to fundamentally undermine the letting of available units within the Mulberry scheme and that the two schemes would provide a range of units that would cater for a wider range of operators.
“This will help to deliver the significant improvements to the evening economy that have long been sought by the borough council.
“The overall impacts of the Helical Bar scheme on town centre investment are likely to be positive, not least because they will redevelop a part of the town centre that has been derelict for a number of years and will therefore deliver significant environmental improvements.”
Speaking after Tuesday night’s meeting, Cllr Rob McKellar said the Conservative group at Corby Council had been strongly in favour of the proposals.
He added: “It will not only be a great asset to Corby people but will also bring in custom from other surrounding towns like Market Harborough, Oundle, Thrapston, Rothwell and Desborough.
“We are committed to promoting multiple local amenities in Corby including cinemas, a bowling alley, skating rink and snow dome as well as numerous restaurants and retail facilities.”
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