Plans have been unveiled to build a second multi-screen cinema in Hemel Hempstead as part of an expansion of The Marlowes shopping centre.
The scheme, which would also include a number of family-friendly restaurants, was shown off for the first time in public this week, and residents will get the chance to have their say on the proposed plans at a public exhibition later this month.
The shopping centre’s owners Capital & Regional also revealed that North Court entrance would be completely refurbished to create a “smart, inviting and rejuvenated gateway” which was set to transform the appearance of the town centre.
Gareth Holland, retail asset manager at Capital & Regional, said: “We are committed to the future of Hemel town centre and The Marlowes.
“We are investing in a series of exciting changes, the first of which are these plans for the introduction to The Marlowes of a multi-screen cinema and family-friendly restaurants, alongside a refurbished North Court entrance.
“We are looking forward to sharing these proposals with the local community and working with residents and Dacorum Borough Council to ensure that The Marlowes remains an intrinsic part of what Hemel Hempstead has to offer.”
The plans for the cinema come two years after the shopping centre’s general manager Vince Williams said investors could possibly be ‘put off’ by the competition of an IMAX cinema ran by Cineworld at nearby Jarman Square.
But Capital & Regional, which acquired the shopping centre in a £35m deal last February, clearly now feel there is enough appetite for more screens in Hemel.
While a number of residents welcomed the plans, some questioned whether another cinema was needed.
Lizzie Smith wrote on Facebook: “I think it’s a brilliant idea and a positive one for Hemel. Hopefully it will bring more people and new shops.”
Jan Dawes added: “I welcome the proposals, we need more things in the town centre to bring people in. Why not a cinema?”
But Dan Stobbs told the Gazette: “I’m all in favour of redeveloping The Marlowes as it has become rather tired and rundown in the last few years.
“However, Hemel already has an IMAX and selection of restaurants just up the road with free parking – the proposal doesn’t make sense!”
The plans will be on display at the public exhibitions, which take place at the shopping centre near the customer service desk on Friday June 23, from 3pm to 7pm, and the following day from 10am until 3pm.
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