People in Hemel Hempstead got a glimpse of the town’s future last month after it was confirmed a nine-screen cinema will open in The Marlowes in just two years.
Planning permission for the Empire Cinema, which will have nearly 1,000 seats, has already been secured and construction work is set to start later this year. It’s thought the venue will be built above the Marlowes.
The move is a central part of the redevelopment of the town centre and cinemagoers will be able to start enjoying the new facility in 2021.
Capital & Regional, owners of The Marlowes, is expected to invest over £15million in the next two years on the cinema and further projects.
The upgraded customer facilities will have a new state-of-the-art family area and toilets, as well as a new roof, full height glazed shop fronts and an external refurbishment.
Residents have since praised the move, suggesting it will be an incentive to visit the town centre.
Katy Clouds said: “I think this will be great for our town centre, bringing more people to the Marlowes and making going to the cinema more accessible for non-drivers.”
Clair Evans said she is “grateful” the cinema is coming closer to the town as it is easier for people who don’t drive as getting to Jarman Park is “difficult”, despite other residents disagreeing.
Kelly Hawes commented: “I think this is pointless when we already have a cinema. I would rather see a theatre arena for different entertainment.”
Others have suggested other ways the space should’ve been use instead of a second cinema.
Emma Lou commented: “I think a theatre/multi use venue would’ve been much better. Or a bingo hall/bowling alley. Something we don’t already have that would maybe bring people in to the town.”
Ashley Hall said: “Bowling with pool tables and arcade, like it used to be up Jarmans would be better.”
Lawrence Hutchings, chief executive at Capital & Regional, commented: “The Empire Cinema and the express and casual dining options we will create are an important step forward in our repositioning of Hemel, consistent with our community centre strategy. It represents the next key stage following our investment in the family precinct, which is under construction, and an upgrade to centre finishes and amenities.”