A popular US franchise is to open its first UK cinema at The Concourse Shopping Centre, in Skelmersdale, Lancashire.
Star Cinemas, which operates screens in California and Arizona, is poised to deliver an affordable cinema on the ground floor of the centre to further extend the diverse retail and leisure offer available there.
When it opens, it will be the first cinema in Skelmersdale since 1982, when the last large screen closed. Subject to government restrictions being lifted, Star Cinemas aims to open in August or September this year.
The announcement heralds the arrival of yet another significant tenant at Concourse Shopping Centre, which is owned by Skelmersdale Limited Partnership, a joint venture between London and Cambridge Properties (LCP) and Threadneedle Investments.
Earlier this year, coffee operator Siesta Coffee took on unit 110, a 1343 sq ft space adjacent to pizza giant Domino’s, on the ground floor of Concourse Shopping Centre.
Andrew Barrett, retail director at LCP, which is delivering the project on behalf of the Skelmersdale Limited Partnership, said the launch of a new cinema is an exciting time for the shopping centre and for the residents of Skelmersdale.
“It’s a considerable investment, but it is one we are prepared to make to improve the shopping centre, enhance the leisure facilities and boost the local economy.” he said.
“Bringing the cinema to Skelmersdale will provide entertainment facilities to the doorstep of the local community. We’re very much looking forward to the cinema opening.”
The franchisee behind the scheme said: “Star Cinemas aims to bring the magic of Hollywood to the town of Skelmersdale by creating a multi-screen, state-of-the-art digital cinema complex with ticket prices only £5 for any film, seven days a week. Food and drink will also be around 50% cheaper than other national cinemas.
“We want to create a habit where cinema-going is done on a regular basis, just like the good old days, and we aim to achieve this by offering a low-cost, affordable day out, but with the same luxury and comfort as other cinema chains.”
The cinema opening has been welcomed by West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, who said: “I very much welcome further investment in the Concourse, in Skelmersdale, and the increased leisure provision this cinema will bring. Skelmersdale has been promised a cinema on many occasions so I sincerely hope this is delivered and that Skelmersdale residents can enjoy going to the movies with their friends and family later this year.”
Councillor Ian Moran, the Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, added: “This is absolutely fantastic news for the town and a real expression of faith in Skelmersdale at this difficult time for town centres. The people of Skelmersdale have been wanting a cinema in the town centre for many years and, alongside the new town centre development, this demonstrates that the town is really on the up.”