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Cinema Looks Due South For Expansion

A Leamington cinema is hoping to get back to its original size by increasing the number of silver screens on offer.

The Apollo Cinema in Portland Place is preparing a planning application to add two extra screens, and increase its number of seats by 300.

If the move is granted the cinema will seat more than 1,000 in six screens. Originally it held more than 1,000 people, but could only show one film at a time.

Manager Gary Stevens said the plans to expand had been in the pipeline for a while, but had to be amended from an earlier scheme as the building would have encroached on the floodplain of the River Leam.

That application was withdrawn by cinema bosses, who did not want a confrontation with planning officials.

Mr Stevens said meetings were currently being arranged so the application would meet all the required standards when it was submitted.

He said he hoped it would get a decision in the New Year, and that films would be showing in the extension by Easter.

He said:

“We are trying to keep up with the market. We are obviously not as big as some other companies, but we are an important part of the independent sector.”

Mr Stevens said the Apollo’s future had been helped by the decision to turn the Regent Hotel into a ballroom and residences, instead of another cinema.

The Apollo has had a bad run of luck recently. It was flooded in the Easter floods of 1998, and in April an arson attack gutted the building.

Mr Stevens added:

“These things happen to us every two years, so we should have next year off, but we are waiting for the plague of locusts!”
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CWN / Arts & Entertainment / Cinemas / Apollo / 3 Nov 00

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