The Light Cinemas, one of the UK’s fastest growing cinema operators, has agreed to join the £57m Spirit of Sittingbourne regeneration project with its plans for an 8-screen cinema in Sittingbourne Town Centre.
Current plans anticipate construction of the cinema will start in October 2016 with completion set for early 2018. The new leisure quarter – including the cinema and six new restaurants - will sit at the heart of the project, providing a link between the high street and Sittingbourne train station, with direct trains running into Central London in just over 50 minutes. The leisure quarter is set to transform Sittingbourne town centre and provide a major boost to the town, attracting an additional 400,000 visitors per year.
In addition, 213 much needed town centre homes will be delivered by residential specialist, Neighbour, via a private rental sector model, providing stylish and affordable homes on a long-term rental basis.
Overall, the scheme, being delivered by U+I, Swale Borough Council and Quinn Estates is anticipated to deliver 1,100 jobs and £250 million of investment into Sittingbourne over the next 10 years.
Richard Upton, Deputy CEO of U+I said “This deal with The Light Cinema demonstrates our commitment to the regeneration of Sittingbourne and will create a real social hub for the community once completed. We anticipate that this landmark deal will have a positive knock-on effect in attracting other interesting and exciting businesses to Sittingbourne, encouraging further investment into the town centre and helping to deliver a long-term legacy for the town.”
Cllr Andrew Bowles, leader of Swale Borough Council, said “This deal will bring one of the most innovative cinema operators in the country to Sittingbourne. Light Cinemas offers something different from other chains and the decision to make this their first investment in Kent shows their faith in our plans for Sittingbourne’s regeneration. It gives us a cinema operator committed to working with the community to provide the high quality entertainment local people want.”
Mark Quinn, MD of Quinn Estates said “This is a pivotal moment for Sittingbourne and Swale. We are really excited to be part of this regeneration project and believe getting The Light as an occupier is a real boon for the area that will transform Sittingbourne’s town centre. I feel that with the dedication and hard work of the Spirit of Sittingbourne team, we can deliver the benefits that this town needs and deserves.”
Keith Pullinger, CEO of The Light Cinemas said “We are delighted to be part of this important town centre initiative and we look forward to working with Swale Council and U+I to deliver this 8 screen cinema. The Light has a commitment to working with local communities to ensure that the cinema is seen as a valuable amenity in the town.”