Cinema emerges as £1m favourite

ST NEOTS could finally secure its dream of getting its very own cinema by using the £1million gift given to the town by a wealthy landowner. So far the suggestions have included a new swimming pool – either indoor or outdoor – a youth centre, a revamp for

ST NEOTS could finally secure its dream of getting its very own cinema by using the £1million gift given to the town by a wealthy landowner.

So far the suggestions have included a new swimming pool - either indoor or outdoor - a youth centre, a revamp for Riverside Park, additional cycle routes for the town and an adventure playground for children.

Another more ambitious idea, put forward by a member of the public, was to restore the St Neots Bridge to its former glory, replacing it with a replica of how it used to look in the 1900s.

However, early indications suggest the most popular way of spending the cash - donated to the town at the beginning of the month by Lord of the Manor, Peter Rowley - would be to provide St Neots with a venue for all the latest movies.


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St Neots Town Council clerk, Philip Devonald, said: "The impression is that most people would like a cinema in the town and Mr Rowley's personal preference is for the money to be used to provide a movie theatre."

The £1million is believed to have come from the sale of land owned by Mr Rowley at Love's Farm on the outskirts of St Neots.

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The land is being developed for new homes by Gallaghers Estates.

While the donation took the people of St Neots and the town council itself by surprise, the hard task of deciding how to spend the money - and where to locate any new facilities - has only just begun.

Potential ideas will be discussed at the next St Neots Town Council meeting on Wednesday, November 29, at the Priory Centre.

The council will then approach Mr Rowley with its proposal and ask for the first instalment of £330,000 to get the ball rolling.

The town council would then need to find a partner to help build - and provide extra funds - for the cinema (assuming that councillors follow the popular route). Another sticking point could be locating a potential site for the cinema. While there are plenty out-of-town opportunities, space in the town centre is at a premium.

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