Work gets under way on flagship cinema project in Daventry

An artist's impression of how the new Mulberry Place cinema development will look at the the former library site off North Street in Daventry,
An artist's impression of how the new Mulberry Place cinema development will look at the the former library site off North Street in Daventry,

A much-anticipated plan to transform a former library site in Daventry into a new cinema and restaurants got under way this week.

Residents and businesses will soon start to see major changes in the town centre as work began this week on the landmark Mulberry Place cinema development.

Construction firm Willmott Dixon has begun the project for Daventry District Council to turn the old library site off North Street, Daventry, into a four-screen cinema, as well as restaurants, a public square and splash fountains.

Work started this week on demolishing the former library buildings to prepare the site, while archaeological digs will take place later this summer. Work on the cinema's foundations is due to begin this autumn.

It follows on from last month’s relocation of Daventry Library to modern new premises in the nearby Abbey Centre, off St John’s Square.

The former North Street building, which dated back to the 1930s, had become outdated, impractical and costly to run.

People living or working near the site can find out more about the development and speak to contractors at a drop-in session next Wednesday, June 19, from 11am to 7pm, at the former Edison Electrical shop at 69 High Street.

Meanwhile, the council is on course to agree a lease to its preferred cinema operator for the development within the next couple of months.

The council stressed that due to commercial sensitivities surrounding the discussions, the name of the operator cannot yet be announced, but will be in due course.

Councillor David James, the council's economic, regeneration and employment portfolio holder, said: “With work starting this week, people will soon see the first physical signs of changes to the town centre as the site is cleared and the Mulberry Place cinema development gradually takes shape.

“Our contractors Willmott Dixon are committed to keeping disruption to a minimum while construction work is taking place and will be keeping people living and working near the site regularly updated on the progress being made.

"I would encourage them to also find out more about the various stages of work taking place by popping along to meet our contractors at the drop-in session next Wednesday.”

It is hoped the cinema and restaurants could be completed by early 2021, with the council saying it faced a "realistic yet challenging timescale".