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Movie House will close if new cinema opens, warns owner

 

By Michelle Weir

The opening of a second cinema complex in Newtownabbey will lead to the closure of the Movie House in Glengormley, its owner has stated.

Michael McAdam was speaking ahead of a public consultation into plans for a new multi-screen cinema at Old Church Road at the Valley Leisure Centre next Tuesday.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has already been notified that an application for planning permission is to be submitted by Hammerson plc, which owns Abbey Retail Park at Church Road.

Hammerson manages and develops 22 shopping centres in the UK, Ireland and France as well as 15 retail parks in the UK.

Last month, Hammerson and Aberdeen Standard Investments announced that they had secured National Amusements' luxury cinema brand, Showcase Cinema de Lux, for a new £1.4bn extension to Brent Cross shopping centre in London, which they co-own.

Another Showcase cinema is set for Watermark WestQuay, Hammerson's £70m development in Southampton.

The proposed new cinema in Newtownabbey would be the first Showcase to open in Northern Ireland.

The brand operates 940 screens in the UK, US, Argentina and Brazil.

Earlier this year, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council turned down a planning application for a hotel and cinema at Church Road in Newtownabbey saying that these were not "compatible with existing employment zoning".

The Movie House is the closest cinema to the proposed Newtownabbey location, less than three miles away in Glengormley.

It is currently closed to facilitate a £0.5m refurbishment and is scheduled to re-open on May 26.

"It is very much a community-based cinema. We used to get people coming from Antrim and Carrick but the marketplace has changed," Mr McAdam said.

"In screens one and two, we will be putting in electric recliners and new seats in the smaller screens. It is all about comfort levels."

He said he believes that Northern Ireland is already "overscreened".

"I have been worried about this for some time. I have been saying to planners, 'If you do this, Glengormley will close overnight'. We have had impact studies done."

Mr McAdam, from Rathcoole, went on to say that the council has already indicated that Glengormley should retain the district's cinema.

He added that when he opened the Movie House, he had "picked the right place at the right time".

Mr McAdam stated that it "does not make sense" to open another complex in such close proximity to another outlet.

He added: "Our refurbishment is taking place.

"We will stay as long as we can," he stressed.

The Movie House in Glengormley was Northern Ireland's first 'multiplex'.

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