Good news for thirsty film buffs

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Moviegoers at a revamped art house cinema will be able to enjoy all night drinking when it reopens its doors. Bosses at Cinema City in Norwich have been granted a 24-hour drinking licence - after offering a series of concessions to meet the concerns of objecting neighbours.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Moviegoers at a revamped art house cinema will be able to enjoy all night drinking when it reopens its doors.

Bosses at Cinema City in Norwich have been granted a 24-hour drinking licence - after offering a series of concessions to meet the concerns of objecting neighbours.

The bid had been opposed by solicitor John Hardman, and his wife Caroline, whose property in Princes Street backs on to the site.

The couple were concerned at the impact of noise and disruption a new licence would cause.

Members of Norwich City Council's licensing committee approved an application from C S Norwich, the firm which will run the new three-screen multiplex when it opens its doors on October, after the firm proposed a series of conditions.

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The three-panel committee also ruled that customers should not be allowed in after 2am, in a bid to stop the cinema becoming a magnet for clubbers searching for late night drinking after other venues closed.

Alastair Oatey, from C S Norwich, said the idea was to be able to offer a series of special movie events and also live screenings of opera from other countries such as New York. While diners could also enjoy a “Cinema City” experience without watching a film.

“I think we are being judged on what might happen before we have had a chance to prove ourselves as good neighbours,” he said.

The venue will open from 9am to 2am, but a proposed front courtyard would only be in use to drinkers eating a meal until 10pm.

Doors and windows facing St Andrews Street would also be kept closed when live and amplified music is taking place.

Mr Hardman, who has previously successfully complained to magistrates about noise from St Andrews Hall, and objuected to moves by Delaney's and Expresso Café in nearby St George's Street, told the committee he was concerned about the effects of all night drinking in the area.

“I am pleased that some of the points raised have been dealt with,” he said. “However I do continue to have some concerns. There have been problems with noise and alcohol related crime in the area.”

He also expressed concerns at comments made prior to the meeting by Lid Dem councillor Jeremy Hooke and said he had taken legal advice because he was concerned the remarks would have on the process.

“I hope you will see that my wife and I have tried to make reasonable suggestions and have come to this meeting in the spirit of compromise.

But Mr Hooke, who sat in the meeting, said outside that the objections could threaten livelihoods.

“In the last year we have lost £47,000 at St Andrews Hall I think it is madness, he is taking us back 30 years,” he said. “At some point we are going to end up with lots of buildings that aren't used.”

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