Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Council subsidy for Cinema?

I was reading the reports into the cinema project and I found several points that just don't add up! We are informed by the powers the following:

"The development is expected to include an 18,000 sq ft multiplex cinema, with seven screens, restaurant units and 160 public car parking spaces, with vehicular access from Huntingdon Street." - Hunts Post

I see the word "expected" has crept into the sentence. Instead of "expected", the word "will" would be more of a guarantee.

Turnstone managing director Chris Goldsmith said: "Cinema operators and restaurant owners have already expressed their interest in this scheme and we are in discussions with them to ensure that the best names in leisure are brought to St Neots." - Hunts Post

Expression of interest is far different from actual tenants. Will this be a Vue cinema or an Odeon. How is "best names" defined.

As well as concluding a deal with HDC and persuading the town council to make its land available, the developer will have to negotiate with German supermarket giant Lidl, which has rights of access across the site before submitting a planning application. - Hunts Post

Liberal Democrat town and district Councillor Steve van de Kerkhove said: "... but we are happy as a town council to give up the land for a cinema." - Hunts Post

There are a few problems over access. But the Town Council seems happy to give up some precious open space for car parking.

Community Services Director Malcolm Sharp said: "There are issues to be resolved such as other people’s land and other people’s rights over the land. But from our perspective it could happen quite quickly." - Hunts Post

What does "quiet quickly" actually mean? To mean this means within 6 months. I doubt that is what Malcolm Sharp actually means. Probably 4 - 5 years.

And Conservative Councillor Barry Chapman, who also sits on both councils and has been campaigning for a cinema for years, said: "Turnstone is a fantastic developer and has the nation`s best operators lined up."
He went onto say: "The plans would also include a theatre auditorium, he added." - Hunts Post

The plan is for one of the cinema auditoria to be able to accommodate occasional theatre productions, a spokeswoman from Turnstone Estates said. - News and Crier

How often will occasional theatre productions take place? Once every decade? As most theatre productions normally do so at a subsidised rate, who will subsidise these charges?

So is there any public subsidy? It seems there is!

Cllr Chapman also added: "HDC was effectively putting in £3million to the project." - Hunts Post

The only way this can be achieved is by cutting the value of the land. Effectively £3 million!

"The developers are not looking to us for subsidy, and we would get a positive return for the land," HDC said. - News and Crier

£1 could be a positive return of the land.

The £l million pledged by benefactor Peter Rowley following the sale of his land at Love's Farm will
form part of the £8 million total cost of project. - News and Crier

Lets hope the money is forthcoming.

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