CONSTRUCTION problems have led to delays at a new £18m multiplex cinema.
Around 500 construction workers are building the nine-screen cinema at Whiteley Shopping Centre but work has slowed down, partly due to the recent poor weather.
Work on the site is being carried out by construction company Dawnus on behalf of owner British Land and started in April last year.
It was initially thought that the cinema would be finished this summer, although it has been set back by around two months.
Mike Evans, chairman of Whiteley Town Council, said the council has been working with Dawnus and the centre to keep tabs on the progress.
Cllr Evans said: ‘People have to remember that it is a bespoke building.
‘It’s one of a kind and there is nothing like it anywhere else to go by.
‘There was always going to be an element of slippage and there has been a slight delay.’
He said that panels due to be fitted to the exterior of the 60ft-high cinema could not be put on while the weather was wet so work was delayed until it improved.
However, work is now progressing at a good pace, potentially allowing construction to catch up.
Cllr Evans said: ‘It’s looking good.’
The new expected opening date for the cinema is mid-October.
But some residents are disappointed at the delay.
Thomas Lockwood, from Sarisbury Green, said: ‘My family are disappointed.’
Once finished, the cinema will be run by Cineworld and there will be five restaurants underneath it – Nando’s, Five Guys, Pizza Express, Coast to Coast and Dim T – and a pub, which is yet to be confirmed.
Centre manager Neil Carter said: ‘The new phase will be a brilliant addition. Shoppers will have an even wider choice of places to eat, drink and be entertained.’
The cinema and dining complex will create at least 180 jobs.
It is part of Whiteley Shopping Centre, which opened in May 2013 and cost £84m to build.
Dawnus was contacted for comment but did not respond in time.