Friday, 7 February 2014

The William Hunter Way Development: or CINEMA … !

I have to admit, I have something of an opinion.

Several of them, actually.

I think a penny saved is a penny earned: that recycling’s a good thing to do: that every one has good and bad in them.

Oh, and that Macs  are superior to PCs.

Something most of my friends are possibly trued of hearing me pontificate about.

Something else I believe … ?

Is that the closure of my home town’s two screen cinema, many years ago, was a bad thing.

Certainly for me: at the time, it was a cheap night out for someone who’d been in and out of part time work, so having to travel to see a film added an extra cost.

An extra cost I, for one, resented.

Then and now.

So the fact that Brentwood Borough Council approved a development for a cinema, an associated carpark and set of retail units, was something I welcomed.

Unfortunately … ?

Unfortunately, that development has now been cancelled.

And going by the reports in the Brentwood Gazette, cancelled because the Council and developers couldn’t agree on the rent: and whether it should be linked to the Retail Prices Index.

And I must admit to a certain amount of sadness about the whole thing.


You know, maybe sadness is the wrong word, here.

Maybe I should focus, instead, on anger.

At both the Council: and the developers, Stocklands.

From what I can recall from the Gazette reports at the time, Stocklands were seriously hit by the recession: and put the William Hunter Way development on hold, while assorted things were done at the company’s HQ in Australia.   And while the UK branch renegotiated the rent deal.

I also have to admit, I’m also angry at Brentwood Council.

Both the Conservative administration, who seem to have badly botched the deal in the first place: not least by letting the whole thing drag on for some eight to nine years longer than it needed to be.

My feelings, there, are that this could have been concluded a lot sooner than it has been.   With Brentwood having a cinema built by Stocklands: OR by someone else, if they felt they couldn’t afford to.

I feel the Tories have badly let us down.

I’m ALSO annoyed at local Liberal Democrats: something I know will sadden Councillor Chilvers, who, to her credit, has stood by her belief that the plans — as they stood — weren’t a good thing for town.

I feel that the Lib-dem members on the council have not made their case strongly enough: OR publicly enough.

They may well have had alternatives to the Stocklands deal: but none they ever made public, as far as I could see, and that — in my opinion — they should have done.

I personally believe that had these plans gone ahead, they would have been a net benefit to the town.


Personally … ?

Personally, I’m very aware that talk started in 2005, about a potential new cinema in Brentwood.   Something I have both welcomed, dreamed of and written about for a long time.

I seriously believed, back in 2005, that Brentwood could benefit from a multi-screen cinema*: and the associated retail and hospitality jobs.

I still do.

The fact they have been cancelled … ?

Is no loss to Stocklands.

Or to some at Brentwood Council.

But to us: the people of Brentwood, who would have benefitted from this.

*        The little I understand of the economics of the situation — something I’ve discussed with friends more familiar with the industry than I — confirms my personal belief that a venue with four to six screens — at the minimum — is the minimum affordable option that most chains would consider.

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