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Worries over two Blackburn cinemas


5:00am 27th April 2018
(Updated 6:06am 27th April 2018)

Blackburn's Vue cinema worries for it's future - amid news a Reel is opening.

The managing director has said that two cinemas can't run in such a small area, like Blackburn.

Kevin Styles worries that admission could fall by at least 40% when Reel is proposed to open at the old Waves Water Fun site.

He said;

“We do not believe that a second multiplex cinema can be a sustainable consumer offering in Blackburn.

“We know from past experience that a new cinema opening in a relatively small catchment will likely see at least 40% of those admissions move from one cinema to the other without growing the overall market.

“It goes without saying that if Vue is impacted commercially it will have to cut its cloth accordingly.”

Staff numbers could be at risk of being slashed to save cash.

And the multiplex at the old water park site could have even more impact - as there are proposals for restaurants and a bar too.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has borrowed £6.5m to build the new cinema on Nab Lane.

Cllr Roy Davies fears if the development goes ahead, either Vue could pull out of Blackburn or Reel will prove to be a failure and close down.

He said:

“When they built the Vue, we had another cinema right in front of the town hall and that closed within weeks.

“In my opinion there is not enough footfall to warrant two cinemas in Blackburn.

“As far as I’m concerned, the £6.5 million the council is borrowing to build the new development is a waste.

“Frankly, I think we are going to end up with our fingers burned.”

But there is still a lot of positivity around the new proposals.

The borough’s regeneration boss, Cllr Phil Riley, said discussions with Reel Cinemas had painted a more positive picture.

He said;

“The advice that we have had is that cinema admissions are increasing.

“It’s a booming industry. The view from Reel is that they believe that admissions will grow and we would not expect to see that level of impact.

“Our hope is that Reel will grow the cinema audience from inside and out of the borough.”

The authority’s planning and highways committee approved the £6.5 million Reel Cinemas plan last month.

The firm will sign a 20-year lease and the building is expected to have a 50-year lifespan.

Work on the site is expected to begin over the summer ahead of a scheduled opening in December next year.

The development will also include an underground car park including the first electric car charging points in the borough which will bring the total cost up to £9m.

Reel Cinemas declined to comment.

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