Work begins on Daventry's £8.2m cinema development

Image caption The library in Daventry relocated to the Abbey Centre last month to allow the demolition to start

Work has begun on a £8.2m project to demolish an 80-year-old building to make way for a new cinema development.

The site of old Daventry Grammar School will become Mulberry Place in the centre of the Northamptonshire town.

The district council approved the scheme last year and it is hoped it will open at Easter in 2021, a year later than originally planned.

David James, from the authority, said it would "provide a much better experience for shoppers in Daventry".

Image caption The work is expect to be completed in early 2021 a year later than originally planned

The Grammar School opened in 1938 and, after it closed, part of the building became the town's library.

It closed in April and a new library in the newly refurbished Abbey Centre opened last month.

The new development will include a four-screen cinema, restaurants, a public square and splash fountains.

Image copyright Daventry District Council
Image caption The Mulberry Place scheme will see a cinema, two restaurants and a public square built near Daventry High Street

No operator for the cinema has been announced yet but the district council say it hopes to agree a lease "within weeks".

Paul Short, from construction firm Willmott Dixon, said work was "going well" and they would recycling some of the materials from the old building for the new development.

Image caption The plans for Mulberry place also include shops and offices

Archaeological digs are due to start later this summer and work on the cinema foundations should begin in autumn.

Originally there were plans for a shopping centre to be attached to the cinema development but they were deemed not "financially viable".

Daventry District Council is set to be dissolved in April 2021 and replaced with the West Northampton Unitary Authority, which also includes Northampton Borough and South Northamptonshire councils.

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