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Plans for the redevelopment of Portland Park Ashington have taken a major step forward with Advance Northumberland signing a deal with national cinema operator Reel Cinema for a new multi-screen cinema and restaurant complex.

Working on behalf of Northumberland County Council, Advance Northumberland has secured a significant commitment from Reel who are delighted to be part of an exciting cinema led development that will transform Ashington town centre.

In April Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet approved a £4.6m loan and a £3m grant to create a cinema, restaurants and bring new shops into Portland Park. This funding, including a capital contribution of £1m by Advance Northumberland, will be used to develop a 17,000 square foot, seven screen cinema and restaurant space to complement the existing leisure facilities.

Terms are also being finalised with a major retailer to deliver a 20,000 square foot retail store with over 100 car parking spaces. A range of smaller shops will also be developed by Advance Northumberland to encourage both national and local traders and provide a gateway into the more established retail offer on Station Road.

Advance Northumberland has been working closely with the Ashington Project Co-ordination Group, the town forum comprising Town and County Councillors on this major development. Reel Cinemas is a nationwide cinema operator with 14 cinemas across the UK and remains a true local, family owned, independent cinema operator. Reel Cinemas is proud to be one of the largest independent cinema exhibitors in the UK, and have exciting plans to grow organically over the next five years, with at least 10 new cinemas opening in selected locations nationwide, including the new cinema in Ashington.

A pre planning submission public consultation will take place on Wednesday 17th July from 11am-6pm at Ashington Leisure Centre. The planning application is targeted to be submitted late summer 2019. The consultation material will be made available on-line, with the public also having the opportunity to provide comment electronically should they not be available to attend the sessions.

Ken Dunbar, Managing Director of Advance Northumberland, said: “It’s immensely satisfying for everyone in Advance Northumberland who are involved in bringing this fantastic new mixed development and cinema attraction to Ashington, thereby building on the huge success of Ashington Leisure Centre and supporting the ongoing regeneration of the town centre. “Ashington is a great town and a great place to invest. It has significant potential and we are delighted to be delivering the further development of Portland Park. We have signed the deal on a seven screen major cinema development – one that would draw people from across the county. And with a cinema you also attract and support a wide range of leisure offers that will really complement the highly successful leisure centre”.

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