Councillors at a recent Planning Meeting gave unanimous support to the Listed Building Application submitted by Image Cinemas Ltd. (Image), developers of Marlborough's new Parade Cinema. (words by Neil Godwin from a press released provided by KVAT)
Consent is needed to rectify problems encountered with the floor of the former Congregational Chapel and the stairs to the upper gallery area. The flooring itself wasn't in too bad condition but underneath, once the boards had been stripped away, the supports and joists were seen to need a substantial amount of work to make good. The stairs to the gallery - at best described as 'rickety' - as the structure is in extremely poor and potentially unsafe condition, will be removed with access to the gallery seating via the Manse.
Councillor Nick Fogg was unambigious in expressing his support for the proposed changes and the approval of this application. "This is a very important project for Marlborough"...."The floor is in a terrible state, and the staircase is completely unstable."
"We should all support the efforts behind finding a new use for a valuable old building that would otherwise degenerate increasingly into decay", he added, before regaling Councillors present with his experience preaching 'hell fire' from the pulpit of the Chapel in days gone by!
Orlando Harris, director of Image and one of the project's founders told Marlborough news "We expect to have the Cinema open in April of next year". "The delay is frustrating but we want to ensure that all work is carried out to a high standard, but the extra time has enabled us to fully integrate the Manse as part of the over-all Cinema and Arts Centre complex".
Originally the vision was solely to convert the former Chapel into a cinema, but the project extended to include the adjoining Manse which will now provide extended cafe space, members lounge and an office for the Cinema team. It also means that a proposed extension on the Northern side of the Chapel won't be needed.
"We look forward to the new Parade Cinema and Arts Centre providing Marlborough with a new and popular addition to the cultural fabric of the Town." Orlando stated, adding that the Cinema represented: "Something that many have desired and campaigned for over the years but is finally in sight."