New Derbyshire cinema and a restaurant plan set for approval

A council’s plans to set up a cinema and a restaurant in a Derbyshire town are set for approval.

By Eddie Bisknell, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 4th February 2022, 3:46 pm

Derbyshire Dales District Council has been assessing the Matlock Market Hall site for redevelopment for years and those aims are set to take a significant leap forward.

At a meeting on Tuesday, February 8, councillors are set to approve the authority’s long-held plans, with its officers recommending approval.

The plans would see the market hall area itself, next to the M&S Foodhall, turned into a two-screen cinema and the adjoining restaurant and café facing onto Bakewell Road.

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An artist's impression of how the new cinema might look. Photo: Lathams

If approved, the cinema would have a capacity for 67 people in one screen and 89 in the second screen, while the restaurant would have room for 50 covers.

A document submitted by Lathams Architects as part of the application says the scheme “will provide Matlock with a valuable leisure and cultural asset which will benefit both the local community as well as supporting the important visitor economy, and boosting the town’s evening economy”.

It says: “In addition, the application scheme will contribute positively to the enhancement of the Bakewell Road gateway into Matlock town centre.”

Designs submitted with the application show the restaurant and café being called “Vertigo Café” and the cinema being called “Dales Matlock Cinema”, however the exact details are to be worked out by the private operator of the businesses.

The operator, who bid for the project and runs over sites, has not yet been disclosed publicly.

They are said to be willing to explore community use of the cinema areas when films are not being shown.

Both businesses would be housed in the existing concrete market hall building, which councillors have previously described as an “eyesore”, “ugly” and “depressing”.

The council had originally planned for a “bigger and bolder scheme”, but the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership had deemed it an “unworthy project”.

That wider scheme had included two small shop units and a leisure facility in adjoining parts of the market hall and under the bus depot overhang.

A council report to be discussed next week says phase two of the scheme is subject to “fundraising” and would include a 133 square metre community space.

In the report, Matlock Town Council voiced its support for the scheme, saying: “The council welcomes the application and is pleased to see a proposed redevelopment of this site which it hopes will add to the experience, variety and choice of facilities available to residents and visitors and to the vibrancy of this area of the town.”

Officers, recommending approval, said the scheme would “help supplement the existing offer within Matlock Town Centre and encourage a higher number of visits to the town and visitor spend”.

The council has previously disclosed that the cinema would create 18 direct full-time jobs and lead to other jobs being created in the town.

It has also said that the authority will break even on its investment – up to £800,820 – in year 13, meaning it will take 13 years to see a profit.

Council papers have said the scheme could increase footfall in Matlock by 37,704 a year in the first two years, with £659,816 in extra annual town centre spending, while the cinema operator expects 58,000 visitors a year.