Work is underway to build a new temporary cinema in Berwick while the town’s arts centre is transformed.
Earlier this year the council approved plans for the temporary conversion of the Mob Store at Berwick Barracks to provide a cinema facility. It will be used while the multi-million-pound redevelopment of The Maltings in Eastern Lane takes place.
The new fully accessible cinema will be designed in such a way that the Mob Store can then be adapted into an archive facility when The Maltings redevelopment is completed.
North East contractor Northern Construction Solutions Ltd has been appointed for the works which are estimated to take around six months.
The project will include upgrading the exterior and soundproofing to form a dedicated cinema space with raked seating for 98 people.
There will also be a new kiosk/box office, foyer space, temporary toilet block and accessible/cycle parking. All works will be carried out sensitively to minimise ecological and archaeological impacts.
Berwick Barracks are Grade I Listed buildings and are among the first purpose-built barracks to be built in England, completed in 1721. The Mob Store dates from the early 20th century and was used to store military equipment.
Councillor Jeff Watson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for arts at Northumberland County Council, said: “It’s great to see this exciting project underway in the heart of Berwick.
“Bearing in mind the age of the Barracks it’s important the work will be carried out sensitively and I’m confident it will be quite a magical place to watch films when it opens next year.”
Scott Sherrard, Chair of Trustees, Maltings (Berwick) Trust, said: “”Creating the temporary Mob Store Cinema is the first in a carefully planned sequence of interlinked steps.
“It will equip the Mob Store to become the Berwick Archive’s permanent base when The Maltings moves back home – making efficient use of public funding and securing the Archive’s future in Berwick.”
Berwick North County Councillor Catherine Seymour added: “The works for a temporary cinema on site at the Barracks is to take place whilst our new Maltings is being built.
“Consideration of our residents that live in the vicinity of this area is asked while we are undergoing this transition period. Thereafter, this space will secure the future for our precious Archives and dedicated archivist Linda Bankier.
“I am delighted it will become its permanent home to house all the rich material that has been carefully preserved for 500 years for the community.”