Work is to begin soon on the conversion of the former Congregational Chapel in The Parade into a hundred-and-twenty seat cinema and arts centre. They hope to be showing films in The Parade Cinema by Christmas.
However, the major news is that Image Cinemas Ltd (Image) have now raised sufficient funds to complete the project. This has already involved buying the adjoining house – No. 2 The Manse which actually shares a wall with the Chapel. At a stroke that solves the problem of noise from the cinema and, subject to planning permission, will allow for a much larger café and bar area.
The former occupants of 2 The Manse had not opposed the cinema scheme, but despite extensive acoustic surveys and the planned sound insulation works, there could be no guarantee their home would not be affected by noise and vibration from the cinema.
Marlborough.news has been told: “We will now start work on converting the Chapel to a cinema and, subject to planning permission being secured, move on to work on 2 The Manse to provide associated café space and catering facilities.”
Image’s chairman, Robert Hiscox, has given an update on the project’s progress: “I am delighted to report that at the close of fundraising on April 30th we had raised the necessary £1,500,000 to complete the project. The directors were very pleased at the support, the majority of which came from local people.”
“There is definitely a great demand for a cinema in Marlborough and small independent cinemas are doing very well across the country.”
For the past year, they have had planning permission for the necessary conversion works to the Chapel – which includes a Grade II Listed gallery. They have now applied to Wiltshire Council for planning permission to convert The Manse to commercial use.
Orlando Harris, one of the founders of Image and a director, told marlborough.news: “By incorporating the Manse, the cafe/ bar area will be more than doubled and will therefore create a much more comfortable area for cinema goers and even non cinema goers to enjoy a drink and delicious food.”
The Directors of Image are Robert Hiscox (Chairman), Bob Benton, Orlando Harris and Miles Watson-Smyth.
Mr Hiscox added: “We intend to have an Advisory Board which Barnaby Thompson has agreed to chair. We all believe that the cinema will be a great community asset to Marlborough and the surrounding area.”