A MAJOR chain was announced to takeover Basildon’s empty town centre cinema tthis week after years of delays with the project.

Here is everything we know about the situations so far: 

On Friday, Basildon Council confirmed it agreed terms with national cinema chain Vue - which already has a cinema at Lakeside - to takeover the empty Empire site.

Empire were initially given the keys to the cinema at the £25million East Square development back in 2021 and hoped to open in 2022, however the firm collapsed into administration last summer.

The cinema building has remained vacant throughout, despite the opening of the Orleto Lounge restaurant, Nandos and Kaspa’s Desserts as part of the complex.

Plans have now been submitted to add “Vue” signs to building and replace the current “Empire Cinema” sign.

Basildon resident, Tara Pacey, said: “I will definitely be using this new cinema. I live in Basildon but drive to the Vue at Lakeside for the cinema.

“Some people will be bothered by the lack of free parking in the town centre as Festival Leisure has free parking.

“But you are spending more on tickets, Vue is usually £5.99 if you book online. So, I’ll definitely be using it.”

The heads of terms have been agreed and formal discussions have commenced to negotiate a lease with Vue.

Once open, the cinema’s largest screen will hold more than 300 cinemagoers, with nine other screens showing the latest films, plus VIP and Recliner seating.

Craig Rimmer, councillor responsible for economic stimulus and tourism, said: “I know residents and cinemagoers have been waiting patiently for news on the scheme and it is fantastic to get this project moving again.

“I can’t wait to see the new sign go up while we continue our negotiations.”

A Vue spokesperson added: “We can confirm that we are in formal discussions with Basildon Council regarding a new lease at East Square to bring The Ultimate Big Screen Experience to the area.

“We look forward to being able to share more information in due course.”