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Talks gather pace on plans for Wellington cinema at old bank

By Sophie Madden | Telford | Telford entertainment | Published:

The group looking to bring a cinema to Wellington are moving forward with negotiations to take over a former bank building.

Former HSBC in Wellington

The Clifton Community Arts Centre Ltd want to build an 80-seat cinema in the former HSBC Bank in the town.

They are now moving forward in talks with the landlord to be able to secure a short-term lease for the building.

In an update to shareholders, the group said: “The building is subject to a superior lease between HSBC and the landlord (the Head Lease). We are looking to get a sub-lease.

“The head lease’s provisions allow HSBC to create a sub-lease but these are subject to certain consents from the landlord.

“We have today submitted a detailed paper to the agents acting for HSBC which we believe should afford the landlord the various assurances he should require to provide his consents for the sub-lease to be agreed.

“This is particularly so, in so far, as the landlord is a charity whose charitable objects replicate our aims and as such we would not expect the landlord to unreasonably withhold consent.

“We will issue another notice once we have heard further.”

In October last year, the group, which was set up to try and save the former Clifton Cinema, announced plans to apply for a five-year-lease for the building, after it was agreed at a meeting that the group would look at other locations with the future of the Clifton remaining uncertain and dialogue limited with owners Dunelm.

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A preliminary examination of the building has shown it could be feasible to create an 80-plus seat cinema and cafe-bar on the ground floor and make use of the upper floors for rehearsal rooms, readings, classes, craft workshops and young people’s activities.

The group says its initial funding for the project will need to be in the region of £315,000, which will be met through a mixture of shares from its scheme, retained profits loans and grants.

In October of this year, it was revealed that the Clifton building itself could be converted into 52 apartments and shops under plans set to be unveiled in a consultation tomorrow.

The Clifton, in Bridge Road, was last used as a cinema in the late 80s, but campaigners have been working to get it back into use over the last few years.

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Developers MCO Marylebone said they appreciated the historical relevance of the building and were designing their plans to both protect the site from dereliction and to deliver a “significant investment” into Wellington.

The team behind The Clifton Community Arts Centre group said they were disappointed they couldn’t reclaim it as a cinema, but added that they would still pursue the idea if it ever became available again.

Anyone who would like more information, should contact the group on enquiries@theclifton.org

Sophie Madden

By Sophie Madden
@SMadden_Star

Senior reporter based out of the head office in Ketley covering the Telford area.

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