Borough says it will object to new Whiteley cinema

CONTROVERSIAL The proposed new cinema scheme at Whiteley
CONTROVERSIAL The proposed new cinema scheme at Whiteley

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A MULTIPLEX cinema in Whiteley would be bad news for Fareham, according to council officers.

Fareham Borough Council will object to plans for a nine-screen cinema to the north-west of the new Whiteley shopping centre.

A report by Fareham council officers states: ‘The previously permitted scheme was purely retail-led and while it would undoubtedly impact upon footfall in Fareham town centre, there was little evidence that any “evening” or “night-time” economy would be present.

‘This proposal changes this position significantly and Whiteley will now not only compete for daytime shoppers, but will become a serious competitor in terms of leisure provision and as an evening venue.’

Leader of Fareham Borough Council Sean Woodward said: ‘This cinema is good news for Whiteley but what we don’t want is a whole bunch of other towns slain on the altar of Whiteley.

‘In all respects it is much bigger than Whiteley will ever need.

‘I hope that Winchester City Council will listen to us and have regard to the wider effects of what they allow.’

Councillor Woodward also said that he had concerns about the new cinema taking away much- needed parking spaces and that it would attract more traffic.

Whiteley parish council chairman Mike Evans said: ‘I am not surprised that they [Fareham Borough Council] will object to it. From the parish council’s point of view, the majority of residents are in favour. There have been some modifications to the design, so we decided to support it. We feel it is a facility that is very much needed in Whiteley.’

Fareham Borough Council will discuss the proposals at its planning meeting on Wednesday, March 27.

The planning application for the 2,600sq m building has gone to Winchester City Council, which will consider it and make a decision at a meeting in April.