Multiplex cinema plans for Whiteley to go for approval

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PLANS for a nine-screen cinema near the new Whiteley development could be approved in May.

The developer – Whiteley Co-Ownership – has submitted plans for a 30,000sq ft multiplex to Winchester City Council.

The public had the chance to comment during a public consultation in November, and a number of changes have been made to the plans since.

Parish council chairman Mike Evans said: ‘There were some concerns from residents.

‘We raised a number of issues with the developers and they have introduced ways to solve them, such as installing screening and reducing the height of the buildings.

‘The overall feedback I have received, especially at the consultations, has been very positive.

‘Many have said to me that they want the cinema and that it would be an asset to Whiteley.’

The plans have attracted many comments in to Winchester City Council, mostly in favour.

Richard and Laura Baker, from Coriander Way, said: ‘We support the need for a cinema and think it will be a good idea but the scale proposed is too large for the area.

‘We don’t think nine screens are needed.’

Paul Venters, from Coriander Way, said: ‘I support this development whole-heartedly.

‘A cinema in Whiteley will remove the need to travel out of the area to see a film, reducing traffic and pollution, and promote walking.’

However, residents from nearby Bluebell Way raised concerns about passing traffic and noise pollution.

Sarah Hughes, from Bluebell Way, said: ‘I do not want this monstrous building on my doorstep. It is too big for the village.

‘I do not want to look at a giant shed from my house.

‘This is going to add more cars to the over-crowded roads. Whiteley really needs another exit road before more people are encouraged to visit.’

The height of the building has been reduced from 20m to 18.4m and trees and hedgerows will be planted to screen the cinema from housing.

If the council passes the plans, building work could begin in February 2014 and the cinema could be open by May 2015.

The cinema is expected to be run by Cineworld and will have 1,416 seats.

Winchester City Council should make its decision in May.