Council finalises lease for £25 million Basildon cinema complex

The future of a huge cinema complex in Basildon has been secured following the confirmation of a 20-year lease being signed with a major brand.

At a restricted meeting on March 14, cabinet members of the Conservative-run borough council approved recommendations to lease the East Square development to Vue Entertainment Ltd.

In August it was announced that the complex, which cost over £25 million to build, would be offered to other cinema chains after Empire Cinemas collapsed into administration at a cost to the local authority of around £60,000 per month.

The largest of the development’s ten screens will hold over 300 cinemagoers – one of the highest figures outside London. The complex is also home to Kaspa’s desserts, Nando’s and Orleto Lounge.

A capital contribution of £3 million will also be made to Vue for the remaining fit-out works required.

Prior to the March 14 meeting, cabinet member for economic stimulus and tourism Councillor Craig Rimmer (Con. Pitsea South East) said: “The opening of the cinema will be a landmark event that will start the economic regeneration of the town centre. It will become a real destination for people to spend time with families and friends and enjoy the entertainment.”

Toby Bradon, general manager for Vue UK and Ireland, said: “We’re very happy to learn of the council’s decision, and to be bringing the big screen experience to Basildon.

“We look forward to welcoming our first Basildon customers later this year to enjoy the best in big screen content in luxury seating, state-of-the-art laser projection and immersive Dolby ATMOS sound, delivering the ultimate in seat, screen and sound experience.”

Council leader Andrew Baggott (Con. Burstead) called the lease “a landmark deal”, which will “kick start the economic regeneration of Basildon, providing entertainment and nighttime activity in the heart of our town centre”.

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Emma Doyle

Local Democracy Reporter