A BRIGHT future for the big screen has been predicted by the family behind Cleethorpes’ Parkway Cinema, who are now planning their new Grimsby town centre venture.
Parkway Entertainment Ltd director Richard Parkes is ‘delighted’ at the news that planning permission has been granted for the redevelopment of the western end of Freshney Place.
As reported Parkway Entertainment Group is set to operate a new cinema planned as part of the redevelopment, which also includes new community spaces, other leisure use and a new Market Hall. This will complement the family’s Cleethorpes venue, which is the UK’s largest independent cinema.
The Freshney Place Market Hall and Leisure scheme aligns to North East Lincolnshire Council’s ambition see a more diverse use of Freshney Place, which it owns, to complement the retail offer.
Richard cannot wait for it to get started: “Parkway is delighted that the plans to reinvigorate Freshney Place continue to move ahead. It’s all about bringing unused retail space back to life and bringing people into the town centre,” he said.
Richard said that whilst internet shopping had seen a change in buying habits, it was still evident that people wanted to get together socially, and cinema was benefitting from that.
“Internet shopping has changed how people buy things, but it hasn’t changed who we are – people want to gather together, meet friends, spend time with their family. It used to be mainly driven by retail, but now it’s also about leisure. Anything that gives people a good enough reason to stop poking at a phone and go out and do something is a good idea.
“Cinema has supposedly been dead many, many times. TV was going to kill it. So was VHS, then satellite TV, then Netflix, and most recently COVID. It simply isn’t true. Avatar 2 came out just before Christmas, and it’s already taken more than $2 billion worldwide, and has become one of top ten biggest films ever. Anybody who saw Top Gun Maverick on a big screen knows that the cinema experience is not just alive and well, but, with ever better screens and sound, I think it’s probably better than it’s ever been.”
Focussing on the new Grimsby Town Centre project, Richard added: “Our new Grimsby cinema will be very different to our Cleethorpes offer. There is more than one type and style of restaurant, more than just one type of pub – cinemas are the same. A town centre cinema will have a different feel and style to a big seafront cinema, even if they’re offering the same sorts of films, it’ll be a different experience.”
With planning permission now granted, North East Lincolnshire Council is progressing with its scheme, including the planning of timescales to initially strip out vacant units and demolish the former BHS building. The market will continue to operate from its current base until the new market has been built.
The Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Cllr Philip Jackson, is delighted that Richard and his Parkway team will be a central part of the scheme.
“Freshney Place remains a central venue for shopping and retail, and as we develop our plans, we want to attract a variety of other offers to give people a whole host of reasons to visit, both during the day and into the evenings. Parkway are local, they are committed, and they want to bring about a positive change within our town centre and that is just what we are looking for,” he said.