Norwich Cinema City shortlisted for major award

Jon WelchThe �4.5m overhaul of Norwich's Cinema City is one of only two projects in the region to be shortlisted for a prestigious award.Jon Welch

The �4.5m overhaul of Norwich's Cinema City is one of only two projects in the region to be shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The scheme has been shortlisted in the best new buildings, restorations and public spaces category of the annual Civic Trust Awards.

Prizes are given to projects that are culturally, socially or economically beneficial, and make an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the built environment.

Cinema City was closed for more than three years while work took place to install two extra screens and boost capacity from 200 to 350 people.

Digital projection facilities were fitted and new public areas were created, including a bar and the Dining Rooms restaurant. The complex was re-opened in October 2007.

The project was particularly sensitive, given the cinema's setting in medieval buildings dating back to the 14th century, and took longer than planned.

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Jack Thompson, manager of Cinema City, said: 'We are honoured and delighted to have been shortlisted for such an important award.

'There is no doubt that the buildings within which Cinema City is housed are important historically and it is with all credit that the architects completed the restoration so that it is both sympathetic to its origins as well as its function.

"Cinema City is steeped in heritage, both from a cultural point of view and from the historical angle of its setting. In 1925 the building was bequeathed by the Colman Sisters with the desire 'that the place should be used for the advancement of education in its widest and most comprehensive sense' and it does just that.'

Roy Townsend, chairman of the cinema trustees, said: 'While the Cinema City redevelopment has enjoyed terrific appreciation locally, it's great we are now receiving national recognition.

'This is not just about the restoration and creative extension of an historic local building. It takes into consideration not only the superb cinema and dining facilities, but also the social contribution of our film education arm, Cinema Plus.'

The awards evening will take place on March 12 at St George's Hall, Liverpool, presented by architect and TV presenter George Clarke of Channel 4's The Home Show.

The other project from the East of England shortlisted for an award is Gunpowder Mill, Epping Forest, Essex.

Have you been nominated for a prize or award? Contact reporter Jon Welch on 01603 772476 or email