ROTHERHAM Council refused to discuss a plan B for Forge Island amid concerns about the viability of the cinema industry.
Cineworld closed all its theatres yesterday (8) — affecting 5,500 UK jobs — after the new James Bond release was postponed for a second time.
RMBC has yet to announce which operator is set to run the Forge Island complex, which is due to open in early 2022.
Opposition leader Cllr Allen Cowles asked last week’s council meeting how a downturn in the movie-going industry might affect Forge Island, the key project in the Rotherham town centre masterplan.
He said: “There is concern over cinema companies, Cineworld being just one. If the new Bond film is not a major success, a couple of major companies may fail.
“If such a failure happens, is there a plan B? If not, are we proposing to develop a plan B?
“Once upon a time, I would have guaranteed that the Bond film would be a major success and there wouldn’t have been a problem.
“In the current climate, it’s 50/50, according to the financial press.”
Cllr Denise Lelliott, cabinet member for jobs and the local economy, said: “A cinema is a key part of the Forge Island scheme. The negotiations are at a very, very advanced stage with a cinema operator.
“Negotiations have continued to progress against the backdrop of a pandemic and the difficult trading conditions the cinema operators have been in.
“Although it’s presented challenges and it’s possibly taken longer to get an announcement, I think it’s a very positive feature of the negotiations that we are still working with them and an announcement will be made soon.”