A MAJOR rebuild of Redcar’s seafront Regent cinema is on time, with early summer proposed as a potential opening date.

The £9.6m project, which is being funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, has seen the demolition of the old picture house, which was deemed to be unsafe due to its deteriorating structure and closed in 2018.

Its replacement is a three-storey art deco-style cinema building, construction of which has been underway for the past several months, which is to include a licensed bar with spectacular sea views and an events space for public use.

Construction work is due to be completed in March next year.

Redcar and Cleveland councillors visited the construction site last week and oversaw the building’s rapid transformation, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows surrounding the new café-bar area being installed.

The Northern Echo:

The café will hold 46 people in its main seating area, with a further 17 covers on the balcony, which will be protected by a wide canopy roof and high, glass balustrades.

There will be three screens, seating 200 people, and while the cinema will show major film releases, it is also expected to cater for those wanting to see more diverse, independent films.

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New screens will be installed next year and will include state-of-the-art, 4k projectors.

Upstairs, screen three will seat 55 people while screen two, downstairs, will provide a more “cinematic experience”. The venue’s largest screen will also be located downstairs, housing 95 seats.

An art deco theme inside the cinema will recall the Regent’s heritage while screen-printed posters of the acts who once graced the stage of the Redcar Pavilion, along with posters of the old station and some of the graffiti-style art will be on display.

The Northern Echo:

The building will also include brand new bar design, large staircase in the main foyer with its brass balustrades, and the sloping gold canopy with downlights, which is to be installed at the entrance.

Speaking after visiting the site, Councillor Chris Gallacher, cabinet member for economic growth, said: “This will undoubtedly be a very special place that Redcar can be proud of, and the best view from a cinema in Britain.

“There aren’t many places where you can sit and enjoy something to eat and drink with panoramic views like that, before seeing a good film as well.

“It will give a lot more people a reason to come to the town, who perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have done.”

One hundred tonnes of steel has gone into the new building’s structure with 82 per cent of it said to have been produced in the borough.

The Northern Echo:

Seven hundred people previously responded to a council consultation over the cinema with 72 per cent saying they approved of the plans and re-design.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’s fantastic to see how the Regent Cinema is progressing and it’s certain to be an impressive, modern venue which also pays respect to the much-loved old cinema.

“This project is just one example of how our funding is helping to improve our town centres and communities right across the region and I’m sure it will draw in the crowds once it’s opened, helping to bring more people to Redcar and, in turn, support our brilliant local businesses.”

The Regent development is part of a Redcar regeneration project which includes turning Coatham into a leisure destination and redeveloping Redcar railway station thanks to local authority funding.