New boutique cinema could be created in former railway warehouse
PUBLISHED: 16:04 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:04 20 September 2019
A former railway warehouse could be given a new lease of life as a boutique cinema.
Plans for the Old Goods Shed, next to Wymondham Railway Station, have been submitted to South Norfolk Council.
Start-up digital cinema business Filmhaus (Cinemas) Ltd is seeking planning permission to turn it into a two-screen cinema.
Bill Chew, a chartered architect and cinema designer, who is behind Filmhaus, has been talking to the council for about four years about bringing cinema back to Wymondham - and believes the Old Goods Shed is ideal.
The previous cinema, The Regal closed its doors for the last time in June 1993, after a screening of The Bodyguard starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.
While the Wymondham and District Ex-Service's Social Club continues to show a film in the old Regal building once a month, the town has been without a dedicated cinema for more than 25 years.
But Mr Chew is keen to change that.
He is seeking permission to turn the Victorian brick warehouse into a two-screen digital cinema.
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It would also feature with a cafe/bar and meeting room which could be used by the community.
The building is Grade II listed and Mr Chew said the original look of the building would be retained.
However, he wants to create a distinctive contemporary cinema and cafe/.bar with architectural merit on a par with London cinemas such as Curzon and Everyman.
The cinema would aim to draw in audiences from Wymondham, surrounding areas and further afield.
The idea is that it would be open from about 11am until 10pm seven days a week, with one screen of 94 seats and two wheelchairs and the other, on a mezzanine, having 31 seats.
It is anticipated, that if the project goes ahead, it would provide employment for about 14 people, in full-time and part-time positions.
Mr Chew said, despite the rise of streaming services such as Netflix, people still want the experience of watching films on large, bright screens with good quality sound.
The Old Goods Shed has previously been used as an antiques barn and as a warehouse.
A decision on whether to grant permission will be made by South Norfolk Council in due course.