PLANS for a new nine-screen cinema have been unveiled as part of Whiteley’s multi-million town centre redevelopment.
The Cineworld chain has been linked to the proposals for the 30,000sq ft multiplex which would come as part of phase two of the massive overhaul of the town centre.
Building work on the first £64m phase of the redevelopment is well under way and the first shops are expected to open on schedule next May.
Owner The Whiteley Co-Ownership Trust opted to replace the failed Whiteley Village shopping outlet with a more traditional town centre.
Cllr Mike Evans, chairman of Whiteley Parish Council, said: ‘The parish council supports the plans in principle. It will be a great place for a lot of the teenagers and young people to go, because there’s nothing like that in Whiteley at the moment.
‘We’ve already had youngsters who’ve heard about it on the local grapevine saying they can’t wait.
‘There may be some modifications to the design or the times it will be open. It’s all very early stages.
‘We’re building a new town centre here in Whiteley and with another 3,000 houses coming in north Whiteley, they’re obviously thinking about that as well.’
But councillor Sean Woodward, who represents the Fareham half of Whiteley, said: ‘Parking is a major concern. If the shopping centre is the success they hope it will be, this is going to remove several hundred of those parking spaces.
‘And they’re talking about opening it very late, so it could potentially be almost round-the-clock activity around there, which would be a concern for those residents.
‘It could also have a detrimental effect on cinemas in the area, but you could argue that’s just competition.
‘However, 10 screens in a community of 3,000, possibly 6,000, does seem like overkill when we only have five in Fareham.’
A full planning application has not yet been submitted.
No-one from Cineworld was available to comment.
An exhibition on the plans will be held at the Whiteley Parish Council offices in Whiteley Way from 2pm to 7pm this Thursday and 11am to 5pm on Friday.