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Cinema hub plan for empty Oswestry buildings

By Aimee Jones | Oswestry | Oswestry entertainment | Published:

Plans are moving forward to transform two empty buildings in Oswestry town centre into a community hub.

The former Regal Cinema could be transformed into a community hub

The major project would see the former Regal Cinema and the neighbouring B Wise store transformed into a space for a cinema, eatery, shops and more.

Ingrid Knowles, chairman of the Regal Project Group, said: "It's quite difficult to give it the right name but essentially we want it to be a place for people to meet, feel good and do things together.

"Of course there is space planned for a cinema and theatre, but it will be so much more. We're planning a cafe which will serve good food where people can enjoy an evening meal after the cinema and discuss what they have just seen. There's lots of coffee shops in Oswestry but they all close at 4pm so we feel that aspect is lacking in the town.

"One of the main aims is to educate and engage young people so I hope we can work alongside the businesses who end up taking on the shops, eatery and cinema to provide young people with training and employment."

There is also talk of including a youth facility, an art gallery, a space for workshops and fairs, a ticket office and garden.

The ideas were generated by Oswestry residents who attended an open session last year.

Architect

Mrs Knowles said: "We're working with an architect at the moment on the first draft of the plans then we will put them back out to the public to see what they think.

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"The next stage for us is to create a board of directors so we are looking for people who feel they really want to give something back to the town. Also we want to hear from anyone who has had experience in doing something like this before so they can give us advice.

"We hope the owners are happy to sell the buildings to us and are sympathetic to what we are trying to create."

The buildings are currently on the market for £750,000 and the group hopes to raise money through people buying shares in the scheme. They will also apply for grant funding.

Mrs Knowles presented the proposals to Oswestry Town Council on Monday evening.

Clerk Arren Roberts said: "It's a huge challenge but the council thought it was very exciting and commended them for their dedication and commitment to such a mammoth task.

"The main attraction I think for many of the councillors is the cinema as there is an amazing opportunity there. We encourage them to make the most of that because it would have big benefits for the town."

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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