Wellington Clifton cinema restoration plans

Clifton cinema
Image caption Wellington's Clifton cinema, which once hosted 1,300 seats closed in 1989

A former Shropshire cinema could be turned back into an arts venue under plans by a local community group.

The Clifton cinema in Wellington closed in 1989 and was used as a furniture store until Dunelm Mill moved out last year.

Campaigners said they hoped to raise £10m to buy the site and convert it into a cinema, theatre, dance studio and exhibition space.

They said the site could also be used to host artists' studios.

Chairman of the Clifton project Bill Graham said the site was expected to cost £1m to buy.

He said the scale of the refurbishment would depend on what funds could be raised through grants or by selling shares through a community benefit society.

"The first thing to do is to preserve the building and the site from other development," he said.

Cinema and theatre

"We have to raise the money to acquire the buildings and once we get that we can look at the detailed design work."

He said the £10m was a "top-end" estimate to complete the full project, although a more modest refurbishment would cost considerably less.

If the group's full ambitions are realised it could see a cafe bar built at the front of the building, along with a gallery, dance studios and community rooms.

Mr Graham said there were also plans to build a 100-seat cinema, modelled on Shrewsbury's Old Market Hall, and a 400-seat theatre.

He said the arts in Telford were "significantly under-provided for".

"We have The Place at Oakengates. Creating another centre here will bring a lot more cultural activities together," he said.

"A lot of the activities that are at TCAT [college] are there by default, because there is nowhere else."

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