Major step forward for Grantham cinema as the fitting out begins
South Kesteven District Council’s flagship development of Grantham’s new cinema reached a major milestone on Friday when the building was officially handed over to Savoy Cinemas for the fitting-out work to begin.
As well as the multi-screen cinema, the building will house a new centre for the University of Lincoln helping to meet current and future demand for highly skilled jobs and workers. There will also be retail food outlets.
The handover followed a formal ‘topping out’ ceremony celebrating completion of the work on the building’s shell.
Leader Councillor Matthew Lee, deputy leader Coun Kelham Cooke and cabinet member Coun Jacky Smith met Savoy managing director James Collington on site, together with building contractors G F Tomlinson and other guests associated with the project.
Coun Cooke said: “This is a significant day for Grantham and the whole district, a step closer to providing residents and visitors with a clean, modern and multi-screen cinema that can be enjoyed by many and will be an asset for the town and the surrounding area.
“We are committed to the regeneration of Grantham town centre, and this cinema will play a huge part in that.”
Coun Smith, who has overseen the project, expressed her pride at the topping out and handover. Coun Smith, whose cabinet portfolio includes skills, also hailed a bright new educational vision for the district with a University of Lincoln centre above the cinema, thanks to a £2m grant from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership towards build cost and fit out.
She said: “We shall have the luxury of five superb cinema screens here on the doorstep and a university centre to bring ambitious higher education options to South Kesteven, all under one roof.
“It adds up to a bright new skills future for the whole district, from apprenticeships and degree courses right through to Masters and PhDs, which will benefit local businesses and learners alike across South Kesteven.
“We celebrated a ground-breaking ceremony on 1 May last year, and within less than 12 months we have delivered a superb building. That’s despite being hit by the 'Beast from the East' that plunged the county into chaos, a spring downpour and a summer so hot that no concrete work could be undertaken.”
The day was boosted by a goodwill message from the Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry MP. “We are committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Midlands Engine and building a country that works for everyone,” he said.
“Through this £2 million investment from the Local Growth Fund, residents and businesses in Grantham and its surrounding area will benefit from access to training and specialist support that will boost the local economy.”
For Savoy Cinemas, Mr Collington, said: “This really is a great day for cinema in Grantham. We can now move ahead with the quality fit- out across all five screens that audiences have come to expect from Savoy.
“We are confident that we will be showing films from here this summer, and residents of South Kesteven can start to appreciate a top quality cinema on their doorstep.”
Andy Sewards, managing director at G F Tomlinson, said: “Now that the cinema’s external shell is complete, we can see the new facility really taking shape. We’re proud to play a part in the regeneration of Grantham’s town centre and have established a great new relationship with South Kesteven District Council which can be built upon for years to come.”
Ursula Lidbetter MBE, chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The LEP is pleased to be contributing £2m through its Growth Deal programme towards this transformative project, which will create a new University Technology and Innovation Centre to serve south Lincolnshire and beyond.
“It will provide an anchor and access for South Lincolnshire higher levels skills development and a link for local businesses to a highly successful university.
“In collaboration with the University of Lincoln the new centre in Grantham town centre will deliver higher and degree level apprenticeships, diplomas and short courses. The centre will focus on addressing the skills needed within the LEP’s key priority sectors of manufacturing, agri-food, visitor economy, low carbon and health and care, enabling the provision of courses to meet the needs of local employers.”