HEARTBROKEN owners of Northwich’s Regal Cinema say they cannot bear to see the derelict building in its current state but financial problems have put any development plans on hold.
The disused cinema on London Road has been empty since shutting down in January 2007 and plans have been drawn up for the site to be revamped.
But owner William Godfrey, who is director of Cheshire County Cinemas, says that progress in transforming the Regal will not be made until the economic downturn begins to ease.
He said: “It breaks our hearts, it really does. Everyone in our family feels that we have a duty of care because of the time spent in the town.
“We wanted to be among the first developers and create a real focal point for the people of Northwich. It’s very sad to see it in the state that it is.”
Mr Godfrey confirmed that a cinema would not be built on the site but there are plans for family restaurants and bars.
“A cinema is not on the agenda,” he said. “We were planning to be one of the first to develop the riverside area in Northwich, combined with British Waterways and the council, but unfortunately due to the credit crunch everything has got to be put on hold.”
The Regal, a Mecca for cinema-goers since it opened in 1939, sits alongside the marina site due to be developed as part of Northwich Vision.
Vale Royal Borough Council says a cinema may be built in Baron’s Quay.
A council spokesman said: “Boosting leisure and tourism is one of the main focuses of Northwich Vision. The marina site is a key part of the Vision and the development of leisure facilities in the waterside area is part of the overall masterplan for the town. The introduction of a cinema in the Baron’s Quay site is also earmarked as part of the masterplan for Northwich.”