Plans for shopping mall cinema given the green light

Aberdeen City Council approved plans for the four-screen cinema within the Bon Accord shopping mall.

Plans for shopping mall cinema given the green light LDRS

Plans for a new cinema in Aberdeen have been given the green light.

Owners of the Bon Accord shopping centre had applied to the city council for permission to construct a four-screen cinema on the upper floor of the mall.

This week the local authority approved the proposal subject to conditions.

The cinema will be located in the former Laura Ashley unit, which closed its doors in 2020.

The development will also see a new retail unit created to the rear of the cinema, however a tenant has not yet been confirmed to occupy it.

A courtyard area and entrance to the cinema and shopping centre will also be created, leading out to Drum’s Lane.

Prior to approval the plan received three objections with one stating that the new development would have an impact on similar facilities in the city centre including the nearby Belmont Filmhouse.

However planners said that the small cinema would be “unlikely to have a significant detrimental impact” on other movie theatres in the surrounding area.

Commenting on the approval, Bon Accord centre manager Craig Stevenson said: “We are pleased to see our planning application for a new cinema development at the centre move to the next stage.

“The plans for the cinema will be a fantastic part of our ongoing plan to repurpose vacant retail space and continue to deliver a retail and leisure destination in the heart of the city.”

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said the decision was “very welcomed”.

He explained: “There has been a real challenge to the high street but to have these ambitious plans approved is certainly very much appreciated.”

He added that the Bon Accord centre moving from purely retail to a wider mixed-use facility would help to attract more people to the city, encourage them to stay longer and make use of other facilities in the area.

Mr Watson also hopes that the “exciting” development will help to encourage new names to Aberdeen following the recent announcement that toy store Hamleys will be opening at Union Square, despite a number of shops closing during the pandemic.

He said: “There has been a loss of some big names which has caused some pain but we must keep looking and ask people what they want of their city centres and provide a wider offering.”

Reporting by local democracy reporter Kirstie Topp

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