Vue-ing up Cumbernauld; cinema chain may give town its first cinema in 30 years

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 18:33 on 6 May 2014.
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Picture: Vue.

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CUMBERNAULD is in for major changes in the next decade, with the Sanctuary High Rise project set to get well under way this summer; new homes set to be built across Cumbernauld; two new high schools buildings; the creation of a new community hub in Seafar; the potential for a new Morrisons in Westfield and major aesthetic improvements to the original phase of Cumbernauld town centre.

Now, however, it appears that a cinema chain is looking to call it ‘lights, camera, action’ on opening a brand new cinema in Cumbernauld’s much maligned shopping mall. 

Vue Entertainment are said to have their sights set on opening a new state-of-the-art screen in Cumbernauld, after the closure of the County, in the early 1980s left local residents to fight a 30 year campaign for a new multiplex.  

Logo: copyright and TM of Vue.

Vue Entertainment operates in a total of 9 territories with operations in various countries, including the UK, Germany Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, and Taiwan, with 151 cinemas and 1,368 screens; 8 cinemas of which are in Scotland, across Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamilton, Inverness, Livingston and Stirling. Now, however, it seems as if the chain want to reel back time and bring back a cinema to Cumbernauld.

As we reported on December 18th, last year, the centre’s new owners, Hamcap (Cumbernauld) LLP, are planning a major overhaul of the centre’s interior, with large aesthetic improvements on the cards, alongside an appeal to bring bigger and better shops to the centre, as well as amusement and entertainment facilities, including a brand new cinema.

We reported how, “Plans seemingly also include the part demolition and renovation of numerous units in the centre’s Forth Walk; plans which would see the complex’s former ‘Curves’ and ‘MacKays’ units become a brand new town centre food court”, alongside a brand new cinema. 

At the time, Hamcap (Cumbernauld) LLP declined to comment on the suggestions; however, their strategy for the centre clearly does include a new movie theatre in the centre’s Forth Walk, with Belgate Estate’s Stephen Hill confirming that the area’s feasibility for a cinema will be assessed over the next few months. 

26-06-2013 - By Scott Campbell (+44) 0774 296 870 - Cumbernauld Town Centre; Picture shows Cumbernauld Town Centre, from outside North Bus Stop.
Cumbernauld Town Centre divided many. Pic: Cumbernauld Media.

Mr Hill, the Property and Asset Manager for Belgate Estates says that Hamcap (Cumbernauld) LLP are determined to make changes for the better; he confirmed that: “Since purchasing Cumbernauld town centre last June, Hamcap has been working on a number of asset management initiatives, including progressing proposals to incorporate a new leisure scheme.” 

In an interview with the Cumbernauld News, Mr Hill confirmed that a feasibility assessment will be undertaken across Forth Walk, by builders and structural engineers, with the area set to be closed in the coming months whilst the works are undertaken.

Forth Walk will be closed from Mackay's down to the First Stop Shop. Pic: Cumbernauld Town Centre.

He told the Cumbernauld News: “Proposals are now underway to close off Forth Walk. Discussions have been ongoing with some of the remaining tenants on trying to find suitable accommodation for them within the centre.”

Mr Hill went on to say that the closure of Forth Walk from the old Mackay’s unit down to the old First Stop Shop would help footfall in the centre and ensure people move through the centre in one direction.

He added: “Closure of the mall will assist in channelling footfall down Tay Walk rather than going off in three directions as happens at present.”

Currently, Forth Walk has 19 units, although half of them are empty at present; the proposals by the centre’s owners could potentially see most – if not the entire area – transformed into a cinema, with an adjoining food court, although Hamcap (Cumbernauld) LLP appear to be keeping the plans a closely guarded surprise. 

No planning permission will be required for the closure of Forth Walk, but a building warrant will be required from North Lanarkshire Council’s planning and environment, although no such warrant has been applied for or handed out, according to the council’s website. 

“We are responsible for ensuring that building work in North Lanarkshire is safe and minimises damage for inconvenience to the surrounding area”, a council spokesperson explained. 

The council say a building warrant will be needed.

The suggestion of a brand new cinema in Cumbernauld will no doubt delight many local residents, some of whom have campaigned for nearly 30 years to get a cinema restored to the town, after the County’s closure and the failure of the Cumbernauld Theatre Film Club, which launched on February 9th, 2012, with the movie ‘Up’, which was followed up two weeks late by a screening of Johnny English Reborn.

Cumbernauld Theatre Film Club, however, ultimately failed despite valiant efforts from the Theatre Trust to get people through the doors at 1pm for the ‘Silver Screen’ and 7pm for the ‘Teen Screen’, at £3 per ticket.  And, as we reported on February 6th 2012: 

“From plays to general meet and greets, Cumbernauld Theatre has saw some great events.

Now, however, Cumbernauld Theatre have launched a new venture; a Cumbernauld Theatre Film Club.

Launching this Thursday (9th February) the Film Club will meet every two weeks and will premier some classic films, at what could now be dubbed Cumbernauld's new cinema.

Announcing the programme bill ahead, a spokesperson for Cumbernauld Theatre Trust Ltd said: “From February we will be hosting a fortnightly film club right here at Cumbernauld Theatre,”
Starting from Thursday 9th February, Cumbernauld Theatre will be showing the best mix of films around, with “something to suit all tastes,” the spokesperson added.

Cumbernauld Media have learned that the first film will be UP, which will be premièred this Thursday. Whilst, Thursday 23rd February will see Johnny English Reborn hit the screens of Cumbernauld's new cinema.

Each day the Film Club is on, there will be two opportunities to catch the films. At 1pm, will be the “Silver Screen”, an opportunity for retired audiences to come along, have a complimentary tea or coffee, afterwards, and catch a great film.

Then, at 7pm will be the “Teen Screen”, with tickets for both audiences costing only £3, almost half as much as your regular Glasgow cinema.”

Since the end of the Cumbernauld Theatre Film Club, local residents have again been forced to travel to Glasgow, Stirling or Coatbridge for the nearest cinemas; and, the suggestion that Vue is looking at the potential for the opening of a cinema in Cumbernauld will no doubt be welcome news to many residents.

Commenting, a spokesperson for the Vue chain said that the firm has “no confirmed” plans to open a cinema in Cumbernauld.

The spokesperson said: “Vue Entertainment are always looking at new site developments and opportunities. At this stage there are no confirmed plans to open a cinema at the Cumbernauld Centre.”

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