Sedgemoor District Council, advised by Montagu Evans, has agreed a pre-let for 20,000 sq ft (1,861 sq m) cinema with the WTW-SCOTT Cinema Group to anchor its leisure-led Northgate regeneration plans in the centre of Bridgwater.
A state-of-the-art, seven-screen Scotts Cinema will be a flagship attraction of the new development, offering the latest in audio and visual technology. With 700 seats in total, it will include a boutique studio auditorium and a Director’s Lounge which will be available for presentations, meetings and corporate events. The building will be fully accessible with dedicated wheelchair access to all screens. The operator has signed a 25-year lease.
The 40,000 sq ft (3,716 sq m) Northgate plans also include space for four restaurants, each of 3,000 sq ft (280sq m), as well as a first floor 8,500 sq ft (790 sq m) gym/leisure space. Adjacent open space and gardens at Brewer Field will host a state-of-the-art play and fitness area to users of all ages.
Northgate is being brought forward directly by Sedgemoor District Council, which owns the site, and represents a £11 million investment in the town. The council had previously considered partnering with a developer on the scheme but decided to take the lead role to ensure delivery of a sustainable scheme which delivers a range of economic improvements to the town centre as a whole as well increasing Council revenue. The architect is Corstorphine + Wright.
Dan Harris, a Director of Scott Cinemas said “We’re thrilled at the chance to be opening a brand new cinema in the heart of Bridgwater. We’ve operated in the town since 1983, and have seen admission levels rise over the years, to the point where we welcomed 105,000 people through our doors in 2018. It’s not a secret that we’ve struggled to cater for demand in more recent years with a limited number of screens and lack of accessibility options, so we’re excited to be able to share our plans for the future. With UK cinema admissions at an all-time high, our new venue in Bridgwater will allow us to cater for a more diverse and growing audience.”
Planning and development consultancy Montagu Evans is advising the Council on bringing forward the development and is now marketing the restaurant units and first floor space to potential operators.
Tom Raban, Partner at Montagu Evans, said:
“The new space coming forward at Northgate offers a good opportunity for restaurants and other leisure operators to expand into Bridgwater and benefit from its growing population and high per capita spend.
“This is a high profile location and Sedgemoor DC is committed to creating a prosperous evening economy for the long-term, looking to welcome national and independent names to join the new anchor cinema here.”
Councillor Peter Downing, Sedgemoor District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Infrastructure said “We are very excited that the new cinema will add a fantastic new dimension for the film-loving public. The new facility will complement the other cinemas, community cinemas and film showing in a variety of buildings across Sedgemoor. Our property agents for the scheme have reported significant interest from potential occupiers in the food and beverage areas, which give us a high degree of confidence to market the remainder of the scheme.
The new development is expected to open in late 2021/early 2022.