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Gorleston goes back to the movies with £1m cinema revival scheme

PUBLISHED: 13:42 15 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:42 15 June 2017

The palace cinema in the 1950s. Picture Archant Library

The palace cinema in the 1950s. Picture Archant Library

Archant

A £1m cinema revival taking shape in a stylish former picture house will be the most luxurious in East Anglia with little to rival it outside of London, it is claimed.

Bingo and casino king Patrick Duffy said he was delighted to be returning The Palace in Gorleston High Street to its original use.

Workers are inside refurbishing the 1939 landmark, built as a cinema and later converted to a bingo hall.

And if all goes to plan Mr Duffy hopes he can open at the end of July, with a firework-flashing premiere befitting the blockbuster occasion.

Films have already been lined-up for the Art-Deco style venue with a capacity for 540 movie fans who are promised the best seats and the most up-to-date technology.

Mr Duffy said: “I have maintained the property in Gorleston because that is where I started my business. I have always maintained it because I have an attachment to Gorleston so it gives me great pleasure to make a success of my company and to be able to invest back into the town.

“When we took the bingo out it was quite damaging so this will put back the same, if not more.”

Mr Duffy who operates the Palace Bingo and Casino in Great Yarmouth is also behind a successful cinema in Felixstowe.

Running both the Gorleston and Yarmouth bingo clubs proved there was only enough trade for one facility, and Gorleston was closed.

Determined to use the building he ran a trial earlier in the year which again only succeeded in splitting the crowd.

Returning the cinema to its original use seemed like a good option - and the “next best thing” to the eight screen multiplex he proposed as part of his bid for a large casino licence for the Yarmouth area.

The venue will retain a bingo presence, linked to national games.

The conversion was straightforward Mr Duffy said, removing the flat floor he put in 19 years ago.

Much of his focus has been on seating which will be “very comfortable” and in three classes.

“If you want anything more luxurious you would probably have to go to London. There won’t be anything better in Norwich or Ipswich,” he said.

“Nothing is perfect when you are talking about an old building but it will be as good as it gets.”

It will create up to ten jobs.

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