Basildon council seeks Simons replacement for £25m cinema

Aaron Morby 2 weeks ago
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Basildon Council in Essex is urgently seeking a replacement contractor to restart a £25m cinema project hit by the collapse of Simons Group.

The 10 screen cinema will boast the biggest screen outside of Leicester Square in the country.

Work halted on Tuesday when Simons fell into administration but the council is vowing to keep the project on track with plans to appoint a new contractor as swiftly as possible.

Fortunately, the East Square project, which is set to become an Empire Cinema with six new restaurants, was at an early stage of construction.

Demolition work began at the start of the month. Squibb Demolition, which was subcontracted by Simons to demolish the existing site and carry out other preparatory works, has been stood down for the time being.

Previous unsuccessful bidders for the cinema project included: Kier, McLaren and Graham Construction.

Leader of Basildon Council Gavin Callaghan said: “We have responded immediately by taking a number of steps to ensure that the project for a cinema-led regeneration of Basildon’s East Square remains on track.

“First, we have acted to ensure the site, where demolition and preparatory works are taking place, is safe and secure.

“Second, we are working hard to find a speedy solution so that this preparatory work can continue as soon as is practicable.

“Third, we are urgently exploring options available to us so we can secure the services of a replacement contractor and minimise any delays to the project.

“That includes talking to the administrators appointed for Simons about the assistance they have offered.

“Construction work is due to begin in the spring of 2020 and due for completion early in 2021. We are doing all we can to avoid any serious disruption to this timeline.”

 

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