Lichfield District Council approves investment in long-awaited multi-screen cinema for the district.

The former Debenha,ms is to house a boutique cinema complex
A boutique cinema complex is set to be developed within Lichfield's former Debenhams building.

Lichfield District Councillors have this evening approved the development of a boutique cinema complex for the district.

At a meeting of the Full Council this evening (Thursday 20 October) members approved the scheme which will see a four-screen cinema attraction created within the former Debenhams store in Three Spires (formerly the Three Spires Shopping Centre). 

Featuring a mixture of screens - small, with up to 48 seats and large, with up to 120 seats – and five food and beverage units, the scheme will follow the boutique cinema model which runs successfully throughout the country. 

In addition to the allocation of £5,349,000 in funding from the capital programme, councillors agreed to the formation of a partnership to deliver the cinema between Lichfield District Council and Evolve Estates, the owners of Three Spires. 

Evolve, which is part of the M Core group and has a £300million property portfolio, will invest on a 50/50 basis with Lichfield District Council.    

Discussions with an operator, which will fit out the cinema element of the building, are progressing and work will begin before the end of the year subject to any necessary planning permissions.  

The cinema is just the first phase of development activity currently being discussed by Lichfield District Council and Evolve.

The proposed second stage of the development would see regeneration of the adjacent Birmingham Road Site with food and beverage and high-quality office accommodation together with a new car park to replace the existing multi-storey.  

The Leader of Lichfield District Council, Councillor Doug Pullen, said:

“I am thrilled that council members have backed funding a cinema for the district. 

“After several failed attempts in previous years we now have all the elements in place to deliver it; a development partner in Evolve, a cinema operator, council backing and the necessary funding.    

“We are excited about this scheme because in addition to providing a facility that residents have called for over many years, a cinema will boost the economy in the city centre and serve as a keystone feature in the redevelopment of the Birmingham Road Site.

“We are very much looking forward seeing the development starting in just a few weeks as we continue to drive forward the further improvements to our city centre; making it an even better place to live, work and play.” 

Phil Murphy, head of asset management for Evolve, said:

"Having full council approval is a fantastic endorsement for what will be an exciting new leisure destination at the Three Spires in Lichfield.

“We are on course to submit the full planning application later this year and look forward to starting on delivering a dedicated cinema, as well as further complimentary leisure space for the city, in 2023.”

Sebastian MacDonald-Hall, chief investment officer for M Core, added:

"As a business we have long been committed to investing in the communities in which we operate and the cinema scheme at Three Spires underpins this ethos. Working closely with Lichfield District Council has been at the centre of our plans.”

Residents will be able to monitor progress on the development via an online time-lapse video facility and details of how to access this will be shared soon. 

Published: 20 October 2022