Cromwell Retail Park is still on track

RUMOURS that Wisbech’s Cromwell Retail Park are not going ahead have been scotched by both Tesco and Light Cinemas.

Both companies say they are fully committed to the scheme and although work on the site has been delayed, it should start shortly.

John Sullivan, from Light Cinemas, said he has been “bombarded” with calls over the last two weeks by agents and developers trying to sway his resolve to open at Cromwell Road.

MP Steve Barclay has just unveiled his plan of action to get people back to Wisbech town centre and this includes the cinema moving to the Nene waterfront site.

But a move to a different site has been rejected by Mr Sullivan, who said: “None of the agents, developers and other vested who have contacted me have been able to demonstrate any substance to their alternative proposal and we are absolutely committed to the Cromwell Park site. We are under contract to that development, as they are to us.

“In short, I’m not sure where this is coming from and it seems to be very late in the day to be suggesting any alternative.”

He said that if the group wants to proceed with the alternative scheme, they should do it “without attempting to destabilise an already sound and viable development which is very soon going to start on site after many frustrating years for everyone involved”.

Cromwell Retail Park has been years in the planning and the date for completion has been pushed back several times.

New plans for the site – which will see a new Tesco store and an eight-screen digital cinema on the vacant site and a series of retail units replacing the current Tesco – were passed and work should have started at the end of the year. The delay has been blamed on legal work.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We remain fully committed to bringing a cinema, retail park and new supermarket to Cromwell Road in Wisbech. A number of pre-letting contracts have now been secured since the planning committee last year and we look forward to starting work as soon as possible.

“There has been some delay while we finalise the substantial legal work and conditions required for such a multi-million pound project. These negotiations are still ongoing but we are looking forward to completing them and starting work on site as soon as possible.”

The Light Cinemas is already looking at its recruitment programme for the Wisbech site and will employ around 30 people when it opens in 2013.

Its site in New Brighton, Merseyside, opened recently and has been well received by the public.

Mr Sullivan said anyone who would like to visit the cinema there would be welcomed by manager Phillip Dove, as it is almost identical to the one planned for the Fens.