Plans for £10million Washington cinema complex go on show

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PLANS to create a new £10million entertainment complex in Washington have been welcomed by residents.

The Echo revealed last week that owner of the Galleries, M&G Real Estate, are submitting proposals for a cinema and restaurant on the site of Cheviot House.

About 100 jobs could be created as part of the plans, and if permission is granted, work could get under way as early as summer 2014.

Plans which included artist’s impressions of the development went on show yesterday.

Lesley Carline, 48, of Blackfell, said the cinema is “long overdue”.

“It’s a good idea because the closest cinema to me is Boldon,” said Lesley.

Lesley’s sister Beverley Gregory, who now lives in Northumberland, agreed.

“I haven’t lived here for years, but the shopping centre we have in Cramlington is hopeless,” said the 44-year-old. “The Galleries is one of the better ones now, and I really like coming back here. This will make it even better.”

Ena Richardson, 65, of Mount Pleasant, said: “A lot of my friends have been talking about it, and they can’t wait to see it here.”

Dad-of-one Mick Dickinson, 47, of Oxclose, also gave the plans the thumbs-up, saying: “It will be a lot better than having to travel to go to a cinema when this is built.

“At the minute, we have to go to Boldon or Sunderland, so it will save money for us.

“As long as the ticket prices are competitive, because you always have to look at things like that, it will be great.”

The plans are the latest phase of £42million of investment M&G Real Estate has put into the Galleries over the past five years.

Retail development manager of the firm, Andrew Dakin, said: “The feedback we’ve had so far has been very positive.

“Something like this is long overdue, and it will bring some welcome night-time activity into the centre, and it will also revitalise it.

“It will retain more of the catchment area of the town, meaning people won’t have to go further afield.”

Shoppers can see the proposals today, from 10am to 2.30pm.