Cineworld complex in Hanley vital for city, says business leader

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cineworld (pic by kake pugh, flickr creative commons)A Stoke-on-Trent business leader has backed plans for a new multi-screen Cineworld complex in Hanley.

Phil Wood, deputy president of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, says it’s vital for the city to “move forward”.

The new 1,100-seater Cineworld will be the focus for the extended intu Potteries shopping and leisure complex, which will also include new restaurants.

Mr Wood, whose organisation represents local retailers and companies in the city, told StaffsLive: “It can be regarded as a positive thing for the area.

“I can’t see a developer going to the cost of putting in a new cinema if there wasn’t sufficient demand.

“I think there are always downsides. You get some winners and some losers.

“But we need to move forward as a city because if you don’t move forwards, you move backwards. Success drives more success.”

Work on the new complex could start early next year with completion due mid-2015.

Martin Breeden, asset management director for intu, said: “We have got a catchment of 1.1 million people which is hugely under-served in high quality leisure and catering destinations so we are really looking forward to getting this project on site and open.”

Bosses at Festival Park’s Odeon complex, Cineworld’s main rival in Stoke-on-Trent, declined to comment.

But film fanatic and university student Richard Smithson, 20, said: “I like the idea, the more cinemas in the country, the larger the coverage of the many films out there.

“I personally prefer the Cineworld chain. It may be better because it is newer and more up to date with projection and sound equipment.

“Also, because it’s by the Potteries, it would probably be more convenient for shoppers.”

Fellow film lover, Hakim Mahamdallie, 22, agrees, saying: “I suppose it will be more livelier, especially if there are late night showings.

“I feel traffic will be driven from Odeon to Cineworld because Cineworld is easier to get to by public transport and it is also cheaper.”

But Sainsbury’s warehouse worker Alex Crawford, 40, said: “My concern is do we need another cinema in the area?

“If people can get everything done in Hanley, there is the possibility that other retail parks may begin to suffer.

“We aren’t as big as other cities such as Birmingham and Manchester so if we want to attract  people from outside of Stoke, we need to compete on a higher level.”

(cineworld pic by kake pugh, flickr creative commons)

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