Trowbridge could sustain two cinemas, say developers

The derelict Bowyers site in Trowbridge

Paul Tucker, QC for developers Prorsus

First published in News
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Developers Prorsus, who are hoping to build a £46m cinema complex on the former Bowyers site, believe a new Cineworld and Trowbridge’s current Odeon could both survive in the town.

A four-day planning appeal is currently taking place at Trowbridge Civic Centre with Prorsus looking to overturn Wiltshire Council’s decision, in June 2012, to reject plans for an eight-screen cinema, a Morrisons store, six restaurants and a pub to be built on the derelict site.

The proceedings began yesterday with planning inspector David Nicholson hearing claims from Wiltshire Council and St Stephens Place Leisure Park developer, Legal & General, that the site’s seven-screen Odeon, would severely suffer financially if Cineworld opened in Trowbridge with it potentially closing down.

Although, Prorsus’ legal team argued against that point today.

“We have two major operators who know what they are doing and are happy to compete against each other,” said Paul Tucker QC, representing Prorsus.

“Look at the glass as being half-full with Cineworld and Odeon bringing trade to the town. Isn’t that a great thing for Trowbridge?”

The £17m St Stephens Place Leisure Park opened in November and homes Odeon, Nando’s, Prezzo and Premier Inn.

A Frankie & Benny’s is due to open next month with three other restaurants units still empty.

Alban Henderson, GL Hearn planning associate director, referencing a report from Savills property agent, argued that restaurateurs are reluctant to commit to St Stephens Place before knowing the outcome of the Bowyers planning appeal with the report also suggesting that Trowbridge couldn’t sustain the total number of eateries at both sites combined.

“I wouldn’t say it (St Stephens Place) is a successful scheme in forms of occupation and its ongoing success is reliant on the units being occupied,” he said.

“I think the restaurateurs are hedging their bets.”

At the start of today’s proceedings, Mr Nicholson was shown a video of 400 supporters of the Bowers regeneration scheme marching through Trowbridge, from the site to County Hall, after it was rejected in 2012.

To further show support for the scheme, known as Innox Riverside, residents and interested parties, in attendance at the Civic Centre today, took up an opportunity to give their views on the plans.

Mike Baxter, who lives in the town and is a former cinema operator, said: “There was a 400-person march in support of Innox Riverside and thousands signed a petition. I’ve spoken to many people in Trowbridge over the past few weeks and that support hasn’t gone away.”

Edwina Abrook, who lives in Hilperton, said: “This can be for the people of the town and beyond. This scheme will make Trowbridge an attractive place to visit so please do something special for the people.”

In February 2013, Prorsus saw plans for a ‘reserve’ application – which substituted the cinema for an unspecified leisure facility and added a petrol station – accepted by the council.

Despite this, the company has decided to pursue their earlier plans.

The inquiry continues.

Comments (20)

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9:23am Thu 9 Jan 14

umpcah says...

If one and the last Trowbridge cinema closed because of poor support how can TWO possibly survive ?
If one and the last Trowbridge cinema closed because of poor support how can TWO possibly survive ? umpcah
  • Score: 2

9:36am Thu 9 Jan 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

Didn't the last cinema have to compete against the, at the time, booming home video market?
Didn't the last cinema have to compete against the, at the time, booming home video market? Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 2

12:20pm Thu 9 Jan 14

D@ve says...

Think the town and area has also grown since then....
Think the town and area has also grown since then.... D@ve
  • Score: 1

12:49pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Sazzer says...

Whilst anything built on the eyesore that is the Bowyers site would be a welcome addition I have to say whilst I don't oppose the plan of another cinema I just see little point in it. I've visited the Odeon several times now. Its never full so I cant see how we can sustain two. I think the idea of a different leisure facility would be great. Possibly a bowling alley or something similar to encourage more families into the town centre.

I for one am very pleased and grateful we now have a lovely cinema a small choice of restaurants, lets spread the wings further and have more variety, not another cinema.
Whilst anything built on the eyesore that is the Bowyers site would be a welcome addition I have to say whilst I don't oppose the plan of another cinema I just see little point in it. I've visited the Odeon several times now. Its never full so I cant see how we can sustain two. I think the idea of a different leisure facility would be great. Possibly a bowling alley or something similar to encourage more families into the town centre. I for one am very pleased and grateful we now have a lovely cinema a small choice of restaurants, lets spread the wings further and have more variety, not another cinema. Sazzer
  • Score: 19

10:52am Sat 11 Jan 14

beetawix says...

Trowbridge could sustain a new pork pie and sausage factory
Trowbridge could sustain a new pork pie and sausage factory beetawix
  • Score: 4

3:10pm Wed 15 Jan 14

jigsaw 5 says...

1200 new houses at Paxcroft will sustain two cinemas alone lol
1200 new houses at Paxcroft will sustain two cinemas alone lol jigsaw 5
  • Score: 3

4:34pm Wed 15 Jan 14

Sazzer says...

jigsaw 5 wrote:
1200 new houses at Paxcroft will sustain two cinemas alone lol
Maybe so but wouldn't we all prefer an alternative leisure facility? Especially one that may encourage families and possibly some exercise such as a leisure pool or bowling alley. I love going to the cinema but I wouldn't go every week with my two young children. Would much rather take them swimming.......
[quote][p][bold]jigsaw 5[/bold] wrote: 1200 new houses at Paxcroft will sustain two cinemas alone lol[/p][/quote]Maybe so but wouldn't we all prefer an alternative leisure facility? Especially one that may encourage families and possibly some exercise such as a leisure pool or bowling alley. I love going to the cinema but I wouldn't go every week with my two young children. Would much rather take them swimming....... Sazzer
  • Score: 1

4:51pm Wed 15 Jan 14

BathBadger says...

I think everyone would love more leisure facilities, but someone has to come forward and stump up for the build. At this point it's a supermarket and Cinema chain. I certainly don't want Mount Crushmore Version 2. Hopefully regeneration of the site will encourage more in the town.
I think everyone would love more leisure facilities, but someone has to come forward and stump up for the build. At this point it's a supermarket and Cinema chain. I certainly don't want Mount Crushmore Version 2. Hopefully regeneration of the site will encourage more in the town. BathBadger
  • Score: 1

9:56pm Fri 17 Jan 14

PCS_Wilts says...

BathBadger wrote:
I think everyone would love more leisure facilities, but someone has to come forward and stump up for the build. At this point it's a supermarket and Cinema chain. I certainly don't want Mount Crushmore Version 2. Hopefully regeneration of the site will encourage more in the town.
Everyone forgets that the cinema is from the landlords point of view a non profit anchor for the proposed 6 restaurants - who will fill and maintain those 6 restaurants on top of the restaurants at St Stephen's Place and the rest of the town.
[quote][p][bold]BathBadger[/bold] wrote: I think everyone would love more leisure facilities, but someone has to come forward and stump up for the build. At this point it's a supermarket and Cinema chain. I certainly don't want Mount Crushmore Version 2. Hopefully regeneration of the site will encourage more in the town.[/p][/quote]Everyone forgets that the cinema is from the landlords point of view a non profit anchor for the proposed 6 restaurants - who will fill and maintain those 6 restaurants on top of the restaurants at St Stephen's Place and the rest of the town. PCS_Wilts
  • Score: -2

10:30am Mon 20 Jan 14

AMVanquish007 says...

The cinema-a non profit anchor for 6 restaurants.
What world are you living in PCS?????
People walking, coming by car, bus, bike and especially rail from around the region will fill and maintain the cinema and those restaurants
The cinema-a non profit anchor for 6 restaurants. What world are you living in PCS????? People walking, coming by car, bus, bike and especially rail from around the region will fill and maintain the cinema and those restaurants AMVanquish007
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Mon 20 Jan 14

PCS_Wilts says...

The cinema doesn't pay rent to the landlord - my question was, which companies are going to take on the restaurants given the competition at St Stephen's Place - Does anyone think another 6 restaurants will be sustainable?

If no one takes on the restaurants how does the landlord make money?
The cinema doesn't pay rent to the landlord - my question was, which companies are going to take on the restaurants given the competition at St Stephen's Place - Does anyone think another 6 restaurants will be sustainable? If no one takes on the restaurants how does the landlord make money? PCS_Wilts
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Mon 20 Jan 14

BathBadger says...

I guess multiple restaurants will be as sustainable as multiple mobile phone shops, Pubs, estate agents, coffee shops, furniture stores, Car Sales, and supermarkets, Wouldn't they?
I guess multiple restaurants will be as sustainable as multiple mobile phone shops, Pubs, estate agents, coffee shops, furniture stores, Car Sales, and supermarkets, Wouldn't they? BathBadger
  • Score: 0

5:38pm Mon 20 Jan 14

PCS_Wilts says...

BathBadger wrote:
I guess multiple restaurants will be as sustainable as multiple mobile phone shops, Pubs, estate agents, coffee shops, furniture stores, Car Sales, and supermarkets, Wouldn't they?
I wouldn't have thought so but we'll see won't we...
[quote][p][bold]BathBadger[/bold] wrote: I guess multiple restaurants will be as sustainable as multiple mobile phone shops, Pubs, estate agents, coffee shops, furniture stores, Car Sales, and supermarkets, Wouldn't they?[/p][/quote]I wouldn't have thought so but we'll see won't we... PCS_Wilts
  • Score: 0

5:45pm Mon 20 Jan 14

BathBadger says...

Why wouldn't you think so, based on the evidence of the other examples? Embracing your theory, multiple phone shops, Supermarkets etc shouldn't be sustainable, but they are.
Why wouldn't you think so, based on the evidence of the other examples? Embracing your theory, multiple phone shops, Supermarkets etc shouldn't be sustainable, but they are. BathBadger
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Mon 20 Jan 14

PCS_Wilts says...

BathBadger wrote:
Why wouldn't you think so, based on the evidence of the other examples? Embracing your theory, multiple phone shops, Supermarkets etc shouldn't be sustainable, but they are.
Its not a blanket theory - I just don't see 13 major restaurants being sustainable given the nature of the product/experience in Trowbridge. Restaurants are not a daily consumable where as the majority of the other businesses you mentioned are.
[quote][p][bold]BathBadger[/bold] wrote: Why wouldn't you think so, based on the evidence of the other examples? Embracing your theory, multiple phone shops, Supermarkets etc shouldn't be sustainable, but they are.[/p][/quote]Its not a blanket theory - I just don't see 13 major restaurants being sustainable given the nature of the product/experience in Trowbridge. Restaurants are not a daily consumable where as the majority of the other businesses you mentioned are. PCS_Wilts
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Mon 20 Jan 14

BathBadger says...

I would say Mobile Phones, Estate agents, Furniture shops and Cars sales aren't daily consumables.

You have the perfect example in your own Business, PC/Mac Repair/Sales, consumables etc in a town with other competition and you have been here for over 10 years. Pretty sustainable i'd say.
I would say Mobile Phones, Estate agents, Furniture shops and Cars sales aren't daily consumables. You have the perfect example in your own Business, PC/Mac Repair/Sales, consumables etc in a town with other competition and you have been here for over 10 years. Pretty sustainable i'd say. BathBadger
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Mon 20 Jan 14

PCS_Wilts says...

BathBadger wrote:
I would say Mobile Phones, Estate agents, Furniture shops and Cars sales aren't daily consumables.

You have the perfect example in your own Business, PC/Mac Repair/Sales, consumables etc in a town with other competition and you have been here for over 10 years. Pretty sustainable i'd say.
I'm the only PC repair centre in Trowbridge which offers a repair service for macs nationally - collecting and returning from anywhere on UK mainland - that sustains my business as local business alone would not.

Estate agents earn large volume commissions that can sustain them for some time along with monthly rental incomes that are not based on individuals walking in daily.

Mobile phone shops earn on going commissions based on your monthly usage per customer.

Not sure I can think of a furniture shop that isn't charity related. In Trowbridge that is.

Ask any car sales company how they are doing at the moment - sales are not good country wide let alone locally.

I just don't see all those restaurants being sustained - people don't eat out more than once a week at these types of restaurants (being generous), whose rents alone are huge let alone all other running costs. I could be wrong but I have severe doubts and that has always been my concern for the development as the appealed plans would be - Unsustainable.
[quote][p][bold]BathBadger[/bold] wrote: I would say Mobile Phones, Estate agents, Furniture shops and Cars sales aren't daily consumables. You have the perfect example in your own Business, PC/Mac Repair/Sales, consumables etc in a town with other competition and you have been here for over 10 years. Pretty sustainable i'd say.[/p][/quote]I'm the only PC repair centre in Trowbridge which offers a repair service for macs nationally - collecting and returning from anywhere on UK mainland - that sustains my business as local business alone would not. Estate agents earn large volume commissions that can sustain them for some time along with monthly rental incomes that are not based on individuals walking in daily. Mobile phone shops earn on going commissions based on your monthly usage per customer. Not sure I can think of a furniture shop that isn't charity related. In Trowbridge that is. Ask any car sales company how they are doing at the moment - sales are not good country wide let alone locally. I just don't see all those restaurants being sustained - people don't eat out more than once a week at these types of restaurants (being generous), whose rents alone are huge let alone all other running costs. I could be wrong but I have severe doubts and that has always been my concern for the development as the appealed plans would be - Unsustainable. PCS_Wilts
  • Score: 1

6:35pm Mon 20 Jan 14

BathBadger says...

You have wonderfully supported the view i was putting forward showing how similar business can be sustainable, in showing how they make themselves sustainable.

The point was, there is more than one of each of them, 3 or 4 in many cases (Furniture - Darlingtons, Argos) and they all survive. Some are seasonal (always low sales in December/January - i would know!), but they are all still there. Restaurants don't set up on a 'hope' of business, they will do their research based on facts not 'feelings'.
You have wonderfully supported the view i was putting forward showing how similar business can be sustainable, in showing how they make themselves sustainable. The point was, there is more than one of each of them, 3 or 4 in many cases (Furniture - Darlingtons, Argos) and they all survive. Some are seasonal (always low sales in December/January - i would know!), but they are all still there. Restaurants don't set up on a 'hope' of business, they will do their research based on facts not 'feelings'. BathBadger
  • Score: -1

6:50pm Mon 20 Jan 14

PCS_Wilts says...

I understand but you are talking about 13 restaurants in total on two sites that do not include the other restaurants in town - there is a point of saturation and I worry that any restaurant business looking at those units will look at Trowbridge and not find it viable therefore leaving those units empty.

In ten years maybe they could be sustainable with the current rate of growth in Trowbridge - but not now.

Time will tell I suppose.
I understand but you are talking about 13 restaurants in total on two sites that do not include the other restaurants in town - there is a point of saturation and I worry that any restaurant business looking at those units will look at Trowbridge and not find it viable therefore leaving those units empty. In ten years maybe they could be sustainable with the current rate of growth in Trowbridge - but not now. Time will tell I suppose. PCS_Wilts
  • Score: 0

7:05pm Mon 20 Jan 14

BathBadger says...

I agree, i think time will tell. But it's about the mix of restaurants, what they will offer and the type of customer aimed at. They will be looking at the catchment area being next to the station and with 2000 car parking spaces, not just Trowbridge.

The current rate of growth will need to be encouraged, development cannot stand by to wait and see.
I agree, i think time will tell. But it's about the mix of restaurants, what they will offer and the type of customer aimed at. They will be looking at the catchment area being next to the station and with 2000 car parking spaces, not just Trowbridge. The current rate of growth will need to be encouraged, development cannot stand by to wait and see. BathBadger
  • Score: 0

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