Tuesday, April 18, 2017

News: New Rotherham cinema in focus

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Good news for film fans - and potential investors, developers and operators - there is enough demand for an 11 screen cinema in the borough, if Rotherham cinema goers can be persuaded to stay in the town to watch films in the future, rather than head to Sheffield.

A detailed study into the leisure sector in Sheffield and Rotherham has been carried out by experts at Bilfinger GVA - the largest independent commercial property agency in the UK. The consultants have used a number of surveys and studies to analyse the industry in the area and provide an assessment for the local authorities on future needs and the potential market share.

It is over 25 years since Rotherham had a cinema. Cannon, the last town centre cinema, closed in 1990.

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Rotherham Council has long had ambitions for a new leisure development in the town, anchored by a cinema. Earlier this year, the authority finalised a land deal with Tesco for Forge Island where the key site and surrounding land could deliver a 25,000 sq ft cinema, 20,000 sq ft hotel and 6,000 sq ft of restaurants and bars. It has an estimated project value of £43.5m.

Demolition of the vacant Tesco store is underway and "soft marketing testing" of both operators and developers has been undertaken with RiDO currently working with property agents, Lambert Smith Hampton.

The Council will use the findings from the recent study as it continues to talk with investors and cinema operators. A new masterplan, which is set to emphasise the importance of leisure uses in revitalising the town, is due next month.

The study highlights that Sheffield's cinemas attract at least 75% of visits from each of the zones covering the Rotherham MBC administrative area and over half of all cinema visits from the Barnsley area. Not surprising given that Sheffield has nearly 60 screens, Rotherham has none, and Barnsley has two.

A sensitivity test was carried out with an increased market share for Rotherham in future years.

The study states: "In our opinion, these substantial levels of leakage can be minimised if new multi-screen cinema facilities can be provided in these towns. Indeed, we are aware that there are plans for a new cinema in Barnsley and also a new facility in Wakefield.

"An example of how new multi-screen cinema facilities can minimise leakage is in Chesterfield, which is slightly further away from Sheffield than Rotherham but a similar distance as Barnsley. Only 18% of cinema visits from the Chesterfield area flow to Sheffield, which is due to the attraction of the Cineworld cinema which has 10 screens. This indicates that the availability of several different screens, capable of showing several different films, is a key factor in retaining trips."

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The study concludes that the ability to retain trips in the Rotherham area "will create a level of capacity which is able to support a new local cinema." It adds that if a new cinema facility in Rotherham is able to retain 80% of cinema trips from within the borough, there will be a demand for up to 11 screens.

Currently, Rotherham residents are likely to go to Centertainment and Meadowhall in Sheffield for their cinema-going trips.

Rotherham Council is objecting to a planning application for a £300m Leisure Hall at Meadowhall, stating that it is likely to have a significant adverse impact on Rotherham town centre and the planned investment in the Forge Island site.

Images: VUE


2 comments:

SallyG,  April 18, 2017 at 11:49 AM  

It's about time Rotherham had a cinema again. It's ridiculous that everyone from Rotherham has to travel to Sheffield to watch a film and I'm sure it puts people off going at all

Jon April 18, 2017 at 2:42 PM  

Will there be free parking in Rotherham for cinema customers like Valley Centertainment & Meadowhall. If not I will not switch.

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