CONSTRUCTION of a new multiplex cinema at a shopping centre has now started.
Workers started building the Cineworld complex at Whiteley Shopping Centre yesterday.
And last night the group behind it met Whiteley Parish Council.
Chairman, Councillor Mike Evans said he was told the cinema will be up and running by August next year.
He said: ‘Initial works have started, they’ve got to dig up the car park.
‘The main part will be getting steel work up.
‘It will be finished in about March 2015 and then the rest of it in the summer will be the internal fit-out.
‘It’s looking to open in summer, maybe August next year.’
Cllr Evans heard from British Land and the firm’s construction company about the £15.5m project last night.
The construction of the cinema will see the loss of 128 car parking spaces at the shopping centre.
More spaces will be temporarily lost while building work is carried out.
Nearby residents fear that the loss could lead to people parking in their roads but Cllr Evans said there had not been a parking problem recently.
He added: ‘Initially we will lose when the cinema is built, we will have about 128 fewer parking spaces than we have now.
‘They’re gone, we fully recognise that. There’s about 1,500 about the moment.
‘We’ll be losing some in one of the northern car parks in the first few weeks of the preliminary works.
‘All the works outside and the landscaping will be finished once the building is put up.’
As reported, planning permission was granted by Winchester City Council in April last year. Fareham Borough Council had objected.
Whiteley Parish Council’s consultation found 80 per cent of people backed the plans.
Cllr Evans added that the parish council will be doing a leaflet drop to tell residents of the plans and said they will be kept informed.