Easter 2022 will see the opening of a unique entertainment and leisure venue at Castle Quay Waterfront in Banbury.
The Light has developed a 55,000 square foot entertainment space over three floors, which will include a premium cinema, 10 lanes of bowling, a retro arcade, mini golf, a wide range of exciting leisure offers as well as a stunning terrace restaurant and bar.
Keith Pullinger, the founder and deputy chairman of the Light cinema, and a Cherwell District Council official recently took the Banbury Guardian on a sneak peek tour of the Light entertainment and leisure venue.
The Light has started the 'fitting out' process of the building located alongside the Oxford Canal in the Banbury town centre.
Mr Pullinger said: "This is our second offer that includes boutique bowling."
Since it was founded in 2007, The Light has opened 11 cinema and leisure venues across the country with more site openings planned over the next four years.
He added: "We're evolving our offers all the time. Banbury is definitely a big step for us.
"We like to be in great schemes, and I think this is a great scheme on the waterfront.
"We want to be seen as the best cinema and leisure venue in all of Oxfordshire. People will come and spend the day here that's our ambition."
The venue in Banbury will also offer a dining area on the ground level, which includes more than the typical cinema fare of popcorn and sweets by offering hand-made pizza and burgers.
All the seats inside each of the eight screens at the cinema complex come with their own side table for food and drink. All the steps inside each of the screens are quite deep, which provide plenty of leg room for each viewer.
Each of the film screens will have three different types of seats, which include manual reclining seats, electric reclining seats with a foot rest and bed style seats with a foot rest along the front row.
Mr Pullinger added: "All three types of seats we've designed ourselves, and I think they're unique for the UK."
The cinema complex will also include a separate terrace bar area overlooking the Oxford Canal, which will have a retractable canvas roof to be withdrawn during nice weather. The terrace bar area also has a separate outside entrance, along with the main one from inside the cinema complex. It will also be designed for use as a private hire area for special events.
Mr Pullinger added: "We see this area as a separate business almost. This area we want to see as a real destination for the town. We saw an opportunity with the waterfront to create a real destination space. We see this as an offer in its own right because it's such a great spot over the water."
The development is a key milestone in Cherwell District Council’s transformation of Banbury, and will create a significant number of part-time and permanent jobs as well as make the town a true destination. Castle Quay Waterfront will become the place to 'Meet, Watch and Play' in Oxfordshire.
James Morris, the CEO of the Light, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring such an exciting offer to Banbury and are hugely grateful to the members of the council for their support.
"We have a huge amount of work to do over the next five months and cannot wait to share more details of the venue in the next few months.
"It is an exciting time and we look forward to working in partnership with Premier Inn, Lock29, Tooley's Boatyard, Castle Quay and the other new restaurant and retail operators who are coming together to make this a truly transformational project. We look forward to entertaining the people of Banbury and to offer a wide range of opportunities, with hiring beginning early in the new year.”
Cllr Ian Corkin, deputy leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “The opening of The Light at Castle Quay Waterfront will create an exciting new entertainment hub in the town, attracting visitors from across the region and turbo charging the night-time economy.
"The Light is a true reflection of the council’s ambition to revive the canal side and will anchor waterfront’s leisure offer. We’ve had a very clear vision to regenerate the site from the outset, and it is so exciting to see everything now come to fruition.”