Excited Hucknall can start counting down the days to the opening of its new cinema.
For the owners have announced that work on the former Byron complex should be completed in March.
And that will mean a new lease of life, at last, for one of Hucknall’s most iconic buildings, which dates back to 1936.
The Byron showed its last film in 2006, and the building has stood dormant since its bingo hall closed almost two years ago.
But it was bought for £360,000 in a private deal by Irish commercial property firm, Melcorpo, which has vast experience in the cinema industry. And since November, work has been carried out to turn the building into a four-screen, two-floor cinema, called The Arc.
Brian Gilligan, boss of Melcorpo, told the Dispatch this week: “We are pleased with how the works are progressing on The Arc cinema.
“Historic buildings are never easy to renovate, and the Byron is no different. But we have an experienced team doing an excellent job. Works are due for completion in March.”
Cynics remain sceptical, and conservationists still fear that the facelift could damage the Byron’s heritage appeal.
However, Mr Gilligan is confident the cinema will be greeted with open arms by Hucknall people, and he is already making plans to recruit staff.
He added: “We are really looking forward to welcoming the people of Hucknall to enjoy the top-quality experience they deserve.
“We have had a very encouraging response from the community to our plans, and this really helps us get through the tougher days of renovation work.
“We will shortly be recruiting for positions in the new cinema. We are looking for friendly, customer-focused individuals who can give great service.
“A cinema is a lovely business to work in, and anyone interested should follow our Facebook page for job advertisements.”
Melcorpo already runs Arc cinemas in England and Ireland. The latest opened in Great Yarmouth just before Christmas.
Ashfield District Council says it is confident the Hucknall cinema will “trigger future growth for the night-time economy, attracting more people into the town centre”.