Grand Arcade cinema plans submitted to Cambridge City Council
Blockbuster plans for a five-screen cinema with a restaurant and bar at the Grand Arcade have been submitted to the city council.
The application seeks permission to change the use of three retail units to a cinema, along with the installation of plant equipment on the roof.
The 1,450sqm of space on the first floor of the shopping centre was previously home to the Arcadia Group – which owned Topshop and Topman – and Charles Clinkard.
The cinema, which would be run by boutique brand Everyman, will have five auditoriums with around 324 seats in total. A restaurant and bar are also proposed.
It is expected that the proposals will create a mix of 40 full-time and part-time jobs in total to operate the cinema.
A statement published as part of the application states: “The brand prides itself on redefining cinema by bringing an innovative lifestyle approach to its venues.
“This experience includes high quality food and drink, whilst sitting in comfy sofas, providing a ‘homely feel’ in a luxury environment. Its offer includes blockbuster and arthouse films, live Q&As, film festivals and other special events.
“The cinemas operate with an ancillary food and drink offer, which typically extends to antipasti, pizzas, burgers, milkshakes, hot drinks, and alcoholic beverages, alongside more typical cinema offerings such as popcorn and non-alcoholic beverages.
“All food and drink can be consumed in the bar areas or delivered to customers in-screen. The food and drink facilities will operate as ancillary to the cinema use.”
These units are located to the immediate east of Corn Exchange Street and the Babbage Lecture Theatre of University of Cambridge.
The applicant says the proposals will bring vacant units back into use – and will “encourage a vibrant daytime and nighttime economy” within the centre of Cambridge. The units have been vacant since 2021.
“This is crucial to maintain the city’s appeal to residents and visitors and will help strengthen the presence that Grand Arcade has in the city centre,” the planning statement explains.
It continues: “The proposed cinema will provide a beneficial social amenity through the introduction of a cinema destination within the Grand Arcade.
“It will contribute towards the vitality, viability and vibrancy of the city centre, whilst also positively contributing to the night time economy of Cambridge.
“The proposed cinema will reinvigorate an active frontage on the first floor of Grand Arcade, which will attract footfall to the shopping centre and wider city centre.
“The proposals will introduce a high quality and modern cinema to the city centre, which will help improve the local day time and night time economy. ”
If planning permission is granted, the Grand Arcade would begin work on the retail space in 2023 in readiness for Everyman to take occupancy and fit out the cinema in preparation for opening to the public in 2024.