Councillors have backed residents’ calls to keep Newmarket’s former Doric Cinema as a leisure facility.
At a special meeting of the town council on Thursday, members agreed to withdraw their previous resolution not to object to the former De Niro’s nightclub premises being converted into flats and offices.
Resident and local historian David Rippington who with fellow resident David Goodman is behind a concept to see the building re-opened as a community entertainment venue, told members that they had put in a community right to bid under which groups are able to nominate non-residential buildings or land within their communities as ‘assets of community value’ which then cannot be sold without the community group being given the opportunity to put together a bid to purchase the asset.
“Our aim is to have it as an important public amenity,” said Mr Rippington. “This is not just a figment of our imagination, it is something the people of Newmarket have wanted for a long, long time.”
He said he also felt that if the building was used as a community amenity it would help regenerate the town’s High Street.
Plans have been submitted by developers the Murfet group to convert the building into a mixture of 36 flats and offices.
Proposals to build an additional block of 10 ‘affordable’ flats in the former night club’s car park were dropped after concerns were raised they represented over-development of the site.
Town councillors agreed the site should be retained for leisure purposes.