Rival cinema bid in Scarborough town centre

The area of Newborough that could be demolished
The area of Newborough that could be demolished

A Hollywood-style blockbuster showdown is emerging over new plans for a town centre multiplex cinema in Scarborough.

A Hollywood-style blockbuster showdown is emerging over new plans for a town centre multiplex cinema in Scarborough.

The MRP plans

The MRP plans

Development firm MRP has bought up the Argos store in Newborough and wants to demolish it to house a five-screen complex.

Speaking to The Scarborough News, the firm said the town “could not support two cinemas” – putting it in direct conflict with waterpark developer Benchmark’s plans for a seven-screen mulitplex on the former Atlantis site in North Bay.

Benchmark responded by announcing that it had agreed a deal with The Light to run its cinema, with work starting in the New Year.

But Richard Anderson, director of MRP, said the firm has had discussions with the council and the tenants of the building and hoped to submit the full planning application in the New Year.

Mr Anderson said the firm was aware that Benchmark has planning permission for its cinema but said that would not put it off.

“There is nothing we can do about the other cinema. All we can do is put together the best plan possible for this site and put it to the council. The size of Scarborough I would say that it could not support two cinemas of this size

“Our plan is to demolish all or part of the building and have the cinema on the first floor, below there will be five restaurants, national names that you would expect to find alongside a cinema like this.

“We have been in talks with operator Savoy, which runs cinemas in Nottingham and Worksop, and they are very keen.

“Although I can’t give any names the restaurant chains we have spoken to also seem to be excited by a town centre location such as this.”

Benchmark said that MRP’s application “changed nothing” with regards to its plans.

A spokesman for Benchmark Leisure said: “We believe appointing The Light is a real coup for Scarborough and is the final piece in the jigsaw to delivering this exciting project.

“The Light is a massively growing brand in the cinema industry and offers something very different to the traditional operators. We are proud to be able to bring them to the town. The chosen contractor for the construction will be announced shortly.

“Following the opening of the water park, this represents further investment into the regeneration in the North Bay and will be great for both residents and visitors.

Keith Pullinger, chief executive of The Light added: “We have pioneered a change in the cinema experience and this will be a new cinema for a new era.

“It’s a very exciting development and we look forward to bringing this experience to Scarborough.

“Talks have been taking place with Benchmark for many months now and we are confident that this development will be a hugely successful.”

MRP said that if its cinema plans do not go ahead then it had a back-up scheme to renovate the building and to let it out once more.

• Which plan would you prefer ... North Bay or town centre? Email newsdesk@jpress.co.uk with your views.