Closing of Cineworld ‘terrible blow’ to Ilford town centre
PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 October 2020
The world’s second biggest cinema operator, Cineworld, will temporarily close all branches, including one in Ilford town centre, on Thursday.
The Ilford Cineworld sits at the centre of the council’s plans to regenerate the area, across the street from Mercato Metropolitano, the covered food market which is to open next year.
After a number of film release dates were pushed back, including the latest in the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die, Cineworld made the decision to temporarily suspend its operations.
Council leader Jas Athwal said: “It is such a shame that this news comes just as Redbridge Council is heavily investing in Ilford town centre.
“We have created an art hub with studio space in the town hall, improved the streetscape with new tiling and lighting and have exciting plans to regenerate Redbridge Library and our local theatre.
“With Mercato Metropolitano, the covered food market, coming next year opposite the Cineworld site, there is a real opportunity for the cinema to boost audience numbers.”
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said the news of the closure is “devastating for staff and a terrible blow to Ilford town centre” particularly as the council and partners are working to regenerate the area.
He added: “The government and the major film studios cannot sit idly by with 5,500 Cineworld jobs at risk and many more in the industry besides. We need urgent action to save these jobs and the families who depend on them.”
Ilford South MP Sam Tarry MP called the closure “a major blow” and said it was “a further sign that our high streets are struggling to survive in the face of the ongoing pandemic”.
He called on the furlough scheme to be extended beyond the end of this month to safeguard thousands of jobs across Ilford.
Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, said the closure was “not a decision we made lightly.
“Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”
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