Weston-super-Mare’s Cineworld opens tomorrow

PUBLISHED: 18:00 25 January 2018

Cineworld at Dolphin Square. Picture: Jamie Gray

Cineworld at Dolphin Square. Picture: Jamie Gray

Archant

Weston-super-Mare’s new cinema will open tomorrow (Friday), with councillors proclaiming it has ‘put the town back on the map’.

Shaun Jones and Emma Poppleton. Picture: Jamie GrayShaun Jones and Emma Poppleton. Picture: Jamie Gray

The curtains will roll back at Cineworld – the flagship occupier of the multi-million-pound Dolphin Square redevelopment – tomorrow, putting years of uncertainty to bed.

The cinema held a preview event yesterday, with the town’s top brass invited to a film screening and a tour of the eight-screen multiplex.

North Somerset councillor Felicity Baker was tasked with officially opening the cinema, and told a packed auditorium the Dolphin Square revamp has made Weston ‘a place where people are proud to live, work and play’.

Work to redevelop the former shopping complex began in 2013, but its progress was hampered by delays and difficulty in securing tenants.

Cllr Felicity Baker had the honour of cutting the ribbon. Picture: Jamie GrayCllr Felicity Baker had the honour of cutting the ribbon. Picture: Jamie Gray

Many doubted the project would be completed, but plans for retail units were torn up and restaurants like Nando’s, Pizza Express and Prezzo signed up which saw developer McLaren Life’s proposals come to fruition.

Nando’s and Pizza Express have been trading for several weeks, but the opening of the cinema signals the development is drawing to a close.

Vice president of Cineworld operations Shaun Jones told the Mercury of his ‘excitement after years of planning’.

He said: “It’s finally arrived and it’s great to see the other partners coming on board. This model has been very successful when we have used it in other parts of the UK and we’re really excited about the future this development.

Cineworld at Dolphin Square. Picture: Jamie GrayCineworld at Dolphin Square. Picture: Jamie Gray

“We don’t have a presence in this part of the world, our nearest cinemas are in Bristol and Yeovil so when the opportunity came around be part of this development and investment we jumped at it.

“Hopefully this will be the starting point of further regeneration. The housing developments around us are great to see, and it’s great to see investment into a seaside town.

“It’s created jobs, too. We’ve recruited 35 people locally here and we’re targeting the local audience with things they want to see. We want feedback from them, and we will mould our offering to Weston.”

Emma Poppleton, general manager of Weston Cineworld, said she ‘cannot wait’ to welcome the public.

She added: “Dolphin Square is a really exciting opportunity, it can become a destination venue for the people of Weston to come see a film and grab some food – so I hope to work closely with the tenants to drive that market.”

Cllr Baker added: “It’s all part of the regeneration of Weston and North Somerset, and we have fallen on our feet. Weston has changed beyond all recognition in the past 10 years.

“Weston is back on the map again and a place where people are proud to live, work and play.”

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