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A North Derbyshire council has approved plans to direct a further £400,000 pounds in public money towards a town centre cinema scheme

todayMarch 5, 2023 5

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A Derbyshire council has approved plans to direct a further £400,000 pounds in public money towards a town centre cinema scheme.

Derbyshire Dales District Council agreed in a meeting last night (March 2) to direct £408,737 in Government grant funding to the Bakewell Road market hall scheme in Matlock town centre.

The new funds would see the public spending on the project rise to £1.64 million, with the council itself setting aside £1.229 million for the cinema scheme.

It is hoped that wider parts of the regeneration, including a community facility, will become affordable again, with that part of the complex’s overhaul currently deemed unviable.

Councillors were keen to stress that the planned cinema would benefit the whole of the Dales, not just Matlock.

The extra £408,000 the council agreed to direct to the Bakewell Road project has come from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Plans for the cinema scheme were formally approved by the district council’s planning committee in February 2022 but have hit a number of hurdles, notably inflation and the subsequent cost of materials.

Giles Dann, the council’s economic director, told the meeting that the authority had received three tenders in January for the building of the scheme, but none were deemed acceptable and all exceeded the budget.

He said the council was now trying to refine costs “in areas where we have nice to have elements” which can be dropped without reducing the quality of the project

Mr Dann said new tenders were expected at the end March but that the scheme will “likely cost more”.

He said the scheme still stands to create nearly 18 jobs, increase Matlock town centre footfall by 37,700 a year, bringing £706,192 extra town centre spending and add £4.6million in added investment to the area over the next 10 years.

Mr Dann said: “It is about economic regeneration, it is about footfall on the high street that needs support, but it is also about improving the gateway, the entrance to the town centre from the west.

“Ultimately the council needs to balance the economic benefits, commercial benefits and value for money from public sector investment.”

He said any further delays to the scheme could risk losing the interest of the company set to run the cinema.

Cllr Neil Buttle said the scheme was “going pretty well”, when taking into account the larger issues it was experiencing.

He said: “As a council we have got to be working on positive change and this is something we have got to be working for.”

Cllr Steve Wain said: “The enhancement that it is going to give to that western area of Matlock and the increase in footfall is definitely going to be a benefit.”

Cllr Sue Hobson, deputy leader of the authority, said the scheme would benefit the wider Dales and that the project “often took two steps forwards and one back and it is not over yet”.

Cllr Martin Burfoot said: “It has been a long time coming. We have got to grasp the nettle now, we can’t leave it any longer. 

“If we defer we will have lost the cinema provider and lost the refurbishment of that building forever. 

“It was a disaster from the start. It was destined to fail, it was never going to work as an indoor market. 

“It is a dark cavernous building, it is almost repellant in terms of public use. It is such an important focal point that if we leave it to go more and more derelict it will be a total disaster for this council and embarrassment to this council and an embarrassment to the town.”

Written by: NDR NEWS

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