Concerns over Ilford Cineworld closure threat

Redbridge Council’s leader says the closure of one of Redbridge’s only cinemas “would be a huge loss” to the community.

Cinema chain Cineworld is planning to close as many as 128 theatres, putting 5,500 jobs at risk nationwide, after the delay of the next James Bond film.

While some indoor cinemas reopened on July 31, a number of blockbuster releases have either been postponed or released through streaming services instead.

The Cineworld in Clements Road is one of only two large cinemas in Redbridge, along with the Odeon in High Road, South Woodford.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “Our Cineworld in Ilford is so important to the local community and it’s closure would be a huge loss both for Ilford and for the dedicated Cineworld staff who are facing redundancy.

“Businesses across the country are struggling as a result of the pandemic but their number one priority must be looking after their staff.

“Hearing reports that Cineworld staff heard about potential redundancy from the papers today is absolutely disgraceful.

“The Government must step in to support the arts industry, which employs so many, and action must be taken immediately to save the 5,500 Cineworld jobs that are at risk.”

He added that it was a shame the news came after the council began “heavily investing” in Ilford town centre, with plans to regenerate Redbridge Library and the Kenneth More Theatre.

He argued that the opening of a covered food market, Mercato Metropolitano, opposite the Cineworld site next year could represent a “real opportunity to boost audience numbers”.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter