A CORNISH cinema group has vowed to do everything it can to stop a new multiplex opening in Pool, amid fears it would jeopardise the future of the Regal in Redruth.
Geoff Greaves, who runs Merlin Cinemas, owners of the Regal, will fight plans to build a Cineworld complex as part of a proposal by developer Salmon Harvester Properties Limited, which also includes an Asda supermarket and four restaurants on land next to Carn Brea Leisure Centre.
The developer purchased the land, which is currently a running track, in December. The sale of the land will allow Cornwall Council to refurbish the dated leisure centre.
But Mr Greaves said plans for Cineworld to make its debut in Cornwall were ill thought-out and dangerous to the local economy.
He will now do “everything he can to highlight the negative impact”.
Although originally from a multiplex background, Mr Greaves said they have an adverse knock-on effect, driving people to out-of-town developments.
He said: “If this application is approved it will likely raise doubts as to the viability of the Redruth cinema, and also that of the Merlin Cinemas in Helston, St Ives and Penzance.
“These are only marginally profitable locations, but are very important to the communities they serve.”
The six-screen Regal has recently undergone a £1.5 million refurbishment.
“Merlin Cinemas have always passionately believed in keeping cinema local, retaining existing and often historic traditional buildings, which are part of each community, bringing visitors and local people into town, with schoolchildren and families often able to walk to their local cinema, or at least just travel a short distance,” he said.
“Protecting an amenity for some, by using the money from this deal to refurbish the Carn Brea Leisure Centre, could perversely result in the loss of many popular amenities elsewhere. It could also result in jobs being lost in several towns.
“These are only some of what I believe are very good reasons that this ill thought-out development should be opposed.”
Alex Jones, general manager of Phoenix Falmouth for Merlin, said he used to run a multiplex, adding: “The opening of ‘out-of-town’ multiplexes caused a domino effect where a large proportion of the audiences decide to ‘try out’ the new venue until the town centre locations I ran could no longer compete.
“Within months of the closure of local cinemas, the monopoly created by the multiplex becomes all too obvious and people mourn the loss of their local cinemas which are generally then gone forever.”
Cineworld was unavailable for comment at the time ofto press.