Expansion plans move forward for Whitley Bay cinema

A Whitley Bay cinema is celebrating its own happy ending thanks to the generosity of residents and businesses.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 1:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 11:52 am
The Jam Jar Cinema will be expanding into the first floor of the former McColl’s shop after the sale went through with a new gym.

The Jam Jar Cinema, in Park Avenue, has smashed its Crowdfunder target for its expansion plans.

More than 400 local people and businesses helped the independent cinema raise over £17,000.

The funds will be used for the installation of a much-needed lift in the new cinema expansion, which is on track to open in the Autumn.

Two additional screens, improved access, community space and equipment for the hard of hearing will all be included

Founder and managing director Dan Ellis said: “We always knew we had an incredibly supportive community but the speed in which we have raised our funds has blown us away.

“Plus the messages of support and encouragement from locals has been fantastic – we are incredibly grateful to everyone.

“Being fully accessible has always been a priority for us, but until now we simply haven’t been able to facilitate everyone. Once the lift is installed this Autumn, we will finally be a cinema for everyone.”

In a further boost, the sale of the space for Jam Jar Cinema’s expansion has been confirmed.

Newcastle-based, YoungsRPS, have facilitated the sale of the former McColls store to Snap Fitness who will let the first floor to the cinema while they operate a gym on the ground floor.

Paul Fairlamb, commercial property surveyor for YoungsRPS, said: “Knowing the needs of the cinema and Snap Fitness – that needed a single storey location in the centre of Whitley Bay – we were able to bring together all the parties and negotiate the letting of the first floor and the sale of the whole building to the fitness company.

“Both the gym and cinema extension will bring additional facilities into the town centre and improve the appearance of the high street.”

Dan added: "As an established community business in the town we're thrilled with the sale going through.

“It enables Jam Jar Cinema to expand and we'll be offering a three-screen cinema, new community space and for the first time, we will be fully accessible.”

"British seaside resorts thrive by finding new, different and innovative ways to stay relevant. By combining a Gym and Cinema offering in the town centre, this purchase does just that.

“Whitley Bay and the coast’s ongoing regeneration is based upon a strong partnership of the local authority and the business community investing in our people and in our spaces.

“This development further demonstrates that, and this new leisure offering will be the jewel in the crown of a once again vibrant high street.”