EXCITED traders are preparing for a long-awaited boost in business when Basildon’s town centre cinema finally opens later this month.

Yesterday, Vue confirmed the cinema would start screening blockbusters from July 25 and businesses based in the town centre can’t wait for it to open.

Orletto Lounge, alongside Nandos and Kaspa’s Desserts all opened at the £27million East Square complex in 2022 on the promise the cinema would open immediately... however times have been tough with the cinema project hit by numerous delays.

Assistant manager - Sonny Tippy Assistant manager - Sonny Tippy (Image: Newsquest)

Assistant manager at the Orleto Lounge, Sonny Tippy, 25, who works just under the East Square cinema believes the long-awaited opening will be a massive help to the bar and café.

He said: “It is incredibly exciting, we are really looking forward to the business it will bring, it could be big for us.

“It’s important for us to have it open for the lounge but also not necessary for us. We do believe the Orleto is that high-quality for food that we could succeed as a standalone here.

“If it didn’t open ever, it would really hurt our business, they have clearly targeted the summer holidays and we have heard that a lot of their early showings have booked out already, which is good for us too “We have done well to manage in the meantime.”

Claire Evans, 41, runs the Craft Shed art studio and coffee house a short walk from the Vue Cinema, and believes the town centre needs something to make up for the loss of Marks and Spencer, Next and Debenhams.

Good for business - Claire Evans Good for business - Claire Evans (Image: Newsquest)

“I believe it is worth it, for years it has just been empty and a Vue is a cheaper cinema option and a good way to encourage people who live near to go. It is nice to have,” she said.

“When we lost Marks and Spencer, it was incredibly damaging to the town centre, the next closest stores are over in the Mayflower business park and there is no bus to it.

“I hope they improve the parking near here, especially the cost as it puts people off.”

Onkay Singh, who runs Living Furniture opposite the cinema, believes the cinema has the potential to boost passing trade.

He added: “It is not all bad, it was closed for three years and there was no reason to come to town. Because of the cinema and our business being turned into a Wetherspoons, that will make business better here.”