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It's showtime... plans for four-screen basement cinema move forward.

Byline: COREENA FORD Business reporter coreena.ford@ncjmedia.co.uk @@Scoopford

PLANS to open an underground cinema in the heart of Newcastle next year have taken a leap forward as new details emerge.

Everyman Cinema is already committed to opening a plush cinema in Durham, where it will show an eclectic mix of classics, art house movies and blockbusters in plush surroundings. Last month a licensing application was submitted to Newcastle City Council on behalf of Everyman Media Ltd, operators of the bijoux picture houses, revealing how the company wants to create a site in the basement of Earl Grey House in Newcastle.

Everyman Media confirmed those plans in a stock market update last month, saying it had exchanged contracts for venues in Newcastle as well as London's Borough Market and Liverpool.

Now the landlords of the building, Schroders Regional Office Property Unit Trust, have submitted more details to the council on behalf of their potential client Everyman Cinemas, alongside Schroders' planning consultant, KLR Planning, and Everyman's architect, Hudson Design.

Initial documents initially appeared to show the subterranean cinema would have two screens.

The new documents apply for permission to convert the former basement nightclub Legends into a four-screen cinema, complete with a bar and restaurant, and 30 new jobs could be created. Building owner Schroders plans to strip out the basement to create a shell space, which would then he handed over to Everyman to be fitted out to create the cinema.

The design and access statement by MHBC (Mellersh and Harding Building Consultancy LLP), states: "All of the work to fit out the space to create a fully operational cinema will be undertaken by Everyman Cinemas. "The fitting out by Everyman as part of this application is to create a new cinema of four auditoria to accommodate 221 seats.

This bring listed into use 30 Karen "This will include a foyer, bar and restaurant facility, toilets, ancillary corridors and circulation spaces and an internal plantroom at the rear. All of this fitting out is to be accommodated within the shell of the existing basement of the building.

"Access for wheelchair users is catered building back and create new jobs Read for. There will be level access into the Grey Street entrance from the street, and Everyman will be installing a vertical wheelchair hoist in an existing shaft inside of the main entrance to allow access to the basement level." Heritage consultant Sarah Dyer, who also worked on the transformation of the former Co-op building into the Premier Inn hotel, has submitted a heritage statement detailing the history of Earl Grey House, which was built around 1837 as part of Richard Grainger's town improvements.

It was originally built to have a shop floor downstairs and large housing space upstairs, but in 1899 it was altered to become Coxon drapery shop, with a tea-room in the basement, before getting taken over by Binns department store in the 1930s.

The buildings were refurbished in 1980 and, from 1982 until its closure in 2013, the basement was the well-known night club Legends. Mrs Dyer concludes: "The proposal by Everyman to introduce a new cultural venue to the centre of Newcastle will contribute to the diversity of entertainment on offer within the city. "The proposal seeks to bring back to use a large, vacant basement area within a prime location on Grey Street opposite the Theatre Royal.

"The basement, which has been vacant for five years, is a difficult space to find a use for, with no windows, no large entrance, and therefore a cinema use is considered to be both sympathetic and appropriate to the listed building."

Karen Read, director at KLR Planning, added: "I am delighted to be involved with assisting Everyman in seeking to secure planning permission for this cinema and cafe bar.

"This is a great addition to the city and shows how attractive Newcastle has become.

"This project will bring this vacant listed building, where the former Legends nightclub was located, back into use and create 30 new jobs."

statement Harding 221 inside allo"This project will bring this vacant listed buildingback into use and create 30 new jobs Karen Read

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 8, 2017
Words:700
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