Developer thankful for cinema plan backing

Developer thankful for cinema plan backing

Prorsus managing director Angus Horner listens to submissions at the planning appeal on a cinema for the former Bowyer site

Odeon Cinema in Trowbridge

First published in Trowbridge by

DEVELOPER Prorsus has thanked the people of Trow-bridge for their continuing backing of plans for a £46m cinema complex on the former Bowyers factory site.

Angus Horner, the company’s managing director, said he had been overwhelmed by the number of people who attended a three-day planning appeal, held at Trowbridge Civic Centre last week.

The hearing, overseen by planning inspector David Nicholson, saw Prorsus fighting to overturn a Wiltshire Council decision – made in June 2012 – to reject plans for an eight-screen Cineworld, a Morrisons supermarket, six restaurants and a pub to be built on the derelict site.

Mr Horner said: “It was heartening to see such large numbers still taking such a strong interest in Trow-bridge’s and their shared futures, while also actually contributing so impressively and effectively to the debate in the room.”

When Wiltshire Council rejected the proposals for the disused Bowyers pork pie factory regeneration, an estimated 400 supporters of the plan marched through the town, from the site to County Hall, in protest.

During their closing statements at last week’s appeal hearing, legal teams representing Wiltshire Council and Legal and General called upon Mr Nicholson to uphold the rejection of the scheme.

The latter operates the new £17m St Stephen’s Place Leisure Park, which has a seven-screen Odeon cinema.

The council and Legal and General both argued that a new cinema in Trowbridge would be hugely detrimental to the existing complex, which opened in November.

Robert Walton QC, representing Legal and General, said: “Odeon would be at the margins of viability here [if a Cineworld opened] and the risk of closure remains real.”

However, Paul Tucker QC, representing Prorsus, dismissed the concerns, maintaining that both sites would give Trowbridge a major economic boost.

He highlighted Odeon’s decision to sign up to a 25-year lease at St Stephen’s Place, despite knowing that a potential cinema scheme was planned for the Bowyers site, as a sign that the company would be unlikely to pull out the town.

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 Wiltshire Council.

Stephen Sauvain QC, for Wiltshire Council, said: “The appellant’s development is an edge-of-centre site and will withdraw custom from St Stephen’s Place and have an adverse affect on future investment in the town centre.

“This is a positive rejection, as another scheme will still go ahead and get built.”

The outcome of the appeal is expected to be announced in a few weeks’ time.

Comments (10)

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7:51am Sat 18 Jan 14

trollbridge says...

'Mr Horner said: “It was heartening to see such large numbers still taking such a strong interest in Trow-bridge’s and their shared futures' - am I alone in finding this utterly patronising? For what its worth, its our town you oily little git, and our interests are more vested in it than a developers ever could be..@#$%*....( I for one are wholly on the side of W.C.C. and want to see another family leisure use (bowling?) here not another cinema!!)
'Mr Horner said: “It was heartening to see such large numbers still taking such a strong interest in Trow-bridge’s and their shared futures' - am I alone in finding this utterly patronising? For what its worth, its our town you oily little git, and our interests are more vested in it than a developers ever could be..@#$%*....( I for one are wholly on the side of W.C.C. and want to see another family leisure use (bowling?) here not another cinema!!) trollbridge
  • Score: -1

9:46am Sat 18 Jan 14

PaulSmith2 says...

Maybe we will get another coffee shop instead!! Trowbridge is a joke with Knees moving out the only place to go to have a coffee will be Trowbridge town centre or your kitchen. Who knows we may become the coffee capital of the world!! The Place is a disgrace. Bring back the feel of a county town not one of embarrassment I want to be proud of the place that I was born in not ashamed!.. :-(
Maybe we will get another coffee shop instead!! Trowbridge is a joke with Knees moving out the only place to go to have a coffee will be Trowbridge town centre or your kitchen. Who knows we may become the coffee capital of the world!! The Place is a disgrace. Bring back the feel of a county town not one of embarrassment I want to be proud of the place that I was born in not ashamed!.. :-( PaulSmith2
  • Score: 2

6:01pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Lost in Straburg says...

The WWCC should be ashamed of themselves and decisions made in the last few decades. The town lost it's public Lido, in favour of Tesco's. The building of the Civic Hall and recent facelift, has been a completely unusable white elephant, with dire acoustics. The shambolic discussions re: Innox Riverside and St Stephens Place development. One Councillor saying St Stephens is part of an 'holistic' approach to developing the town centre, notwithstanding the far from holistic Gateway development. Another Councillor thought that HJ Knee's should have waited for Innox Riverside to be developed, to see if the footfall increased in the town centre, before making the decision to leave ! Absolutely ridiculous comment, in the circumstances. Ofcourse, there's still the Town Hall, a gift to the townsfolk of Trowbridge, being sold off so cheap because of the disrepair. I would have much preferred the Innox Riverside development but now feel an ice rink and/ or bowling alley, would be more favourable. I take great pleasure, in protest of St Stephen's Place, by going to the cinema in Frome.
The WWCC should be ashamed of themselves and decisions made in the last few decades. The town lost it's public Lido, in favour of Tesco's. The building of the Civic Hall and recent facelift, has been a completely unusable white elephant, with dire acoustics. The shambolic discussions re: Innox Riverside and St Stephens Place development. One Councillor saying St Stephens is part of an 'holistic' approach to developing the town centre, notwithstanding the far from holistic Gateway development. Another Councillor thought that HJ Knee's should have waited for Innox Riverside to be developed, to see if the footfall increased in the town centre, before making the decision to leave ! Absolutely ridiculous comment, in the circumstances. Ofcourse, there's still the Town Hall, a gift to the townsfolk of Trowbridge, being sold off so cheap because of the disrepair. I would have much preferred the Innox Riverside development but now feel an ice rink and/ or bowling alley, would be more favourable. I take great pleasure, in protest of St Stephen's Place, by going to the cinema in Frome. Lost in Straburg
  • Score: -3

6:51pm Sat 18 Jan 14

sphere123 says...

Utter ridiculous!! Two cinemas in a small town. Local people should not be listened too in this situation! Clearly any business consultant can see that two cinemas will not work therefore creating one to become a business failure. We have waited years for a cinema and finally get St Stephens place which is in a prime location and has created such positive talk in what is a difficult time for the town! Come on people lets focus on St Stephens place and check out bargain Tuesday at the Odeon!!
Utter ridiculous!! Two cinemas in a small town. Local people should not be listened too in this situation! Clearly any business consultant can see that two cinemas will not work therefore creating one to become a business failure. We have waited years for a cinema and finally get St Stephens place which is in a prime location and has created such positive talk in what is a difficult time for the town! Come on people lets focus on St Stephens place and check out bargain Tuesday at the Odeon!! sphere123
  • Score: -1

9:47pm Sat 18 Jan 14

techniquest says...

Yipee for bargain Tuesday :)
It's great we have a cinema now after all these years. Build another and the likelihood is that both will go within a couple of years. Build a bowling alley &/or ice rink and the chances are Trowbridge will benefit as the entertainment capital of Wiltshire, with good business for the Bowers and St Stephens' sites.
Yipee for bargain Tuesday :) It's great we have a cinema now after all these years. Build another and the likelihood is that both will go within a couple of years. Build a bowling alley &/or ice rink and the chances are Trowbridge will benefit as the entertainment capital of Wiltshire, with good business for the Bowers and St Stephens' sites. techniquest
  • Score: 8

2:49am Sun 19 Jan 14

StateSide says...

I live in a town in the States - Santa Cruz with a poulation twice the size of Trowbridge. We have 4 movie theaters and they are all doing very well. Its good to have local choices, especially when you had none for years..... just an opinion of someone who used to live in your city.
I live in a town in the States - Santa Cruz with a poulation twice the size of Trowbridge. We have 4 movie theaters and they are all doing very well. Its good to have local choices, especially when you had none for years..... just an opinion of someone who used to live in your city. StateSide
  • Score: 4

10:03am Mon 20 Jan 14

AMVanquish007 says...

In reply to some of the absurd blogs above.
I think Trollbridge you are being very condescending against a developer who is willing to put £46m into Trowbridge-SOMETHING WE HAVENT HAD FOR 30 YEARS!!!--you have the audacity to be personal against an individual who has had the guts to stand up to a council who have done nothing for this county town for years--shame on you.
As for Sphere 123 -youre not looking at the wider picture.
Trowbridge alone cannot support one not even two multiplexes -BUT THE CATCHMENT AND WIDER AREA CAN.
Just because our town is slap bang in the middle of this massive catchment should not mean with we deny competition.
In your eyes ,its alright that, aside from Swindon 30 miles away, Odeon have the right to owm nearly the whole of Wiltshire and North East Somerset. Im sorry i dont think thats very healthy at all.
As for your comment about local people should not be listened to--well im sorry i'm local ,have worked in local government for 12 years but also for 20 years in cinemas as a manager and in 2 major multiplex cinema chains head offices in London and Manchester-
Your naivety about experienced cinema professionals deserves contempt.
It will be very interesting to see if the Cineworld (god forbid) was to be turned down whether Bargain Tuesdays would be carried on by Odeon.
I consider Innox Riverside as an even better prime location especially for a cinema and with what will amount to 2000 car parking spaces within a 2 minute walk rather than with St Stephens Places multi storey which is rammed 8am-6pm Mon-Sat and the 111 spaces filled most evenings after 5pm with white van man and reps in a premier inn. And there are still 4/5 restaurants to open as yet. Holiday dates will be a nightmare for motorists.
As for you techniquest -you just dont get the psychology of the film industry
Since 1996 not one--GET IT NOT ONE--new build stadium seater multiplex has closed even with local or other multiplex opposition.
But just think of a possible scenario here-if one cinema were to close-which i doubt very much-do you not think-as has been the case worldwide and in Europe, that that empty shell would not be purchased by the other successful operator adding to his screens and giving furher choice.
You have the 2 largest cinemas who want to build here-that should be saying something to you techniquest.
And as i have said before=most bowling companies will not go into a development unless there is a cinema anchoring the development - ice rinks are expensive to run and need a sponsored team and a 10000 seat stadium to really work profitably.
I agree with Paul Smith2 and Lost in Strasbourgs comments but take a leaf out of Statesides valid comments and whose experience is very telling
In reply to some of the absurd blogs above. I think Trollbridge you are being very condescending against a developer who is willing to put £46m into Trowbridge-SOMETHING WE HAVENT HAD FOR 30 YEARS!!!--you have the audacity to be personal against an individual who has had the guts to stand up to a council who have done nothing for this county town for years--shame on you. As for Sphere 123 -youre not looking at the wider picture. Trowbridge alone cannot support one not even two multiplexes -BUT THE CATCHMENT AND WIDER AREA CAN. Just because our town is slap bang in the middle of this massive catchment should not mean with we deny competition. In your eyes ,its alright that, aside from Swindon 30 miles away, Odeon have the right to owm nearly the whole of Wiltshire and North East Somerset. Im sorry i dont think thats very healthy at all. As for your comment about local people should not be listened to--well im sorry i'm local ,have worked in local government for 12 years but also for 20 years in cinemas as a manager and in 2 major multiplex cinema chains head offices in London and Manchester- Your naivety about experienced cinema professionals deserves contempt. It will be very interesting to see if the Cineworld (god forbid) was to be turned down whether Bargain Tuesdays would be carried on by Odeon. I consider Innox Riverside as an even better prime location especially for a cinema and with what will amount to 2000 car parking spaces within a 2 minute walk rather than with St Stephens Places multi storey which is rammed 8am-6pm Mon-Sat and the 111 spaces filled most evenings after 5pm with white van man and reps in a premier inn. And there are still 4/5 restaurants to open as yet. Holiday dates will be a nightmare for motorists. As for you techniquest -you just dont get the psychology of the film industry Since 1996 not one--GET IT NOT ONE--new build stadium seater multiplex has closed even with local or other multiplex opposition. But just think of a possible scenario here-if one cinema were to close-which i doubt very much-do you not think-as has been the case worldwide and in Europe, that that empty shell would not be purchased by the other successful operator adding to his screens and giving furher choice. You have the 2 largest cinemas who want to build here-that should be saying something to you techniquest. And as i have said before=most bowling companies will not go into a development unless there is a cinema anchoring the development - ice rinks are expensive to run and need a sponsored team and a 10000 seat stadium to really work profitably. I agree with Paul Smith2 and Lost in Strasbourgs comments but take a leaf out of Statesides valid comments and whose experience is very telling AMVanquish007
  • Score: 7

10:12am Mon 20 Jan 14

AMVanquish007 says...

Two slight additions
1)Since 1996-no multilpex built after that time has closed (in the UK)
2) You have the 2 largest cinema (operators Odeon and Cineworld)
Two slight additions 1)Since 1996-no multilpex built after that time has closed (in the UK) 2) You have the 2 largest cinema (operators Odeon and Cineworld) AMVanquish007
  • Score: 3

12:21pm Mon 20 Jan 14

D@ve says...

trollbridge wrote:
'Mr Horner said: “It was heartening to see such large numbers still taking such a strong interest in Trow-bridge’s and their shared futures' - am I alone in finding this utterly patronising? For what its worth, its our town you oily little git, and our interests are more vested in it than a developers ever could be..@#$%*....( I for one are wholly on the side of W.C.C. and want to see another family leisure use (bowling?) here not another cinema!!)
A very naive and silly comment trollbridge

It's also the local town of Mr Horner. Who with his family lives in a village just outside the town.

He wants’ the very best for the town, a cinema and leisure destination which will be the flagship of the south west (Cineworld), not just a town cinema (Odeon).
[quote][p][bold]trollbridge[/bold] wrote: 'Mr Horner said: “It was heartening to see such large numbers still taking such a strong interest in Trow-bridge’s and their shared futures' - am I alone in finding this utterly patronising? For what its worth, its our town you oily little git, and our interests are more vested in it than a developers ever could be..@#$%*....( I for one are wholly on the side of W.C.C. and want to see another family leisure use (bowling?) here not another cinema!!)[/p][/quote]A very naive and silly comment trollbridge It's also the local town of Mr Horner. Who with his family lives in a village just outside the town. He wants’ the very best for the town, a cinema and leisure destination which will be the flagship of the south west (Cineworld), not just a town cinema (Odeon). D@ve
  • Score: 8

10:22am Tue 21 Jan 14

frankie007 says...

Personally, I'd love to see a bowling alley & an ice rink in Trowbridge. Sadly I don't have enough cash available to build either & in case nobody's noticed, there are not many people queuing up to invest in either. There is however, somebody with 46million Great British Pounds willing to invest all of them in a complex with another cinema.

I'm prepared to accept that neither Mr Homer nor his business associates are completely stupid, have done their homework & come to the conclusion that a second cinema would be viable.
If all of us who want a bowling alley and/or ice rink can come up with sufficient funds to provide & run them at a loss, then we should have the full support of the local council. If not we should be welcoming Mr Homer & his team with open arms, & not be wasting everybody's time & money opposing them.
If I was Mr Horner, I'd tell Wiltshire Council where to go & take my money elsewhere.

Perhaps we could demolish that ridiculous Gateway development & give someone a few grants to build a bowling alley & ice rink in it's place, which would also have the benefit of bringing 4 major stores back into the town centre where they belong, if they can find room. Knees building for a start?
Personally, I'd love to see a bowling alley & an ice rink in Trowbridge. Sadly I don't have enough cash available to build either & in case nobody's noticed, there are not many people queuing up to invest in either. There is however, somebody with 46million Great British Pounds willing to invest all of them in a complex with another cinema. I'm prepared to accept that neither Mr Homer nor his business associates are completely stupid, have done their homework & come to the conclusion that a second cinema would be viable. If all of us who want a bowling alley and/or ice rink can come up with sufficient funds to provide & run them at a loss, then we should have the full support of the local council. If not we should be welcoming Mr Homer & his team with open arms, & not be wasting everybody's time & money opposing them. If I was Mr Horner, I'd tell Wiltshire Council where to go & take my money elsewhere. Perhaps we could demolish that ridiculous Gateway development & give someone a few grants to build a bowling alley & ice rink in it's place, which would also have the benefit of bringing 4 major stores back into the town centre where they belong, if they can find room. Knees building for a start? frankie007
  • Score: 2

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