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Metquarter cinema plans recommended for approval

A plan to build a cinema in Liverpool’s Metquarter shopping centre has been recommended for approval when it goes before the planning committee next week.

The plans, by Everyman cinemas, will see three retail units across two floors converted into a three-screen cinema covering 1,000 sq m of space – a tenth of the upmarket shopping centre. Capable of accommodating 325 visitors, the Everyman cinema will be part of a national chain that provides a ‘premium’ experience and a mix of modern films and older classic films.

The proposals have been met by opposition from FACT in Liverpool’s Ropewalks area, which believes another cinema will impact on its offering. Other objections have been lodged by Everyman and Playhouse theatre over the use of the Everyman name and the potential for ‘brand dilution’.

Meanwhile, the developers behind the £150 million Brewery Village scheme at the site of the Cains Brewery have warned the entire development is in danger if the new cinema opens. The report says: “The developers behind the Brewery Village scheme advising that their scheme in particular is finely balanced financially with the cinema element necessary for bringing the listed building back into use. They also advise that the loss or failure of any of the uses would undermine the scheme as a whole.”

However, an officer assessment of the application says: “The cinema will make efficient use of a vacant and underused space in the Metquarter and will provide a new complementary anchor to the existing retail units. This will help to promote the attractiveness of the centre and should be a catalyst for further investment in the Metquarter and the wider area.”

The report says there are ‘no planning reasons’ to resist the proposal but the objections will now go before the committee before a final decision is reached.

The Metquarter opened in 2006 but has struggled as a high quality retail destination because of the proximity of Liverpool ONE. New owners have undergone a series of improvements to the centre including internal layout alterations. The entrance to the new cinema, which will occupy the North West corner of the bulding, will be from the upper floor. Food and drink facilities will also be provided as part of the development.