The news that Cineworld is shutting up shop in the UK until at least next Spring adds yet another question to the future one of our brightest new town centres.

As Richard Knight, a Bracknell resident and businessman of several decades, suggests, many businesses in the centre are floating along on a wing and a prayer.

While our partners have reported the ways in which they have seen the market change throughout the Covid-19 crisis and are adapting to it, independent businesses in Bracknell may be operating with little thought for the long term while they try to navigate the immediate issues facing them.

Three years ago Bracknell’s Lexicon development was unveiled and celebrated as a high quality scheme. It has since drawn praise from all over for the quality of the materials, the design and the general feeling of somewhere nice to go.

But now the gathering storm is coming into focus. If Cineworld does not reopen (and even if it does, will anyone go there when they have to toe the line of Covid compliance?), an empty cinema will soon become an eyesore and that would be bad news for a great town centre.

Before the crisis, Sainsbury’s closed in Bracknell’s Princess Square, leaving a hole with little prospect of being filled. Work had begun on The Deck, a superb new area which will link Princess Square with The Lexicon via a raised area full of restaurants and shops. It seems hard to imagine those being occupied right now.

Leadership has become more important than ever. As the crisis is likely to get worse before it gets better, let’s hope the Government offers some positivity for the future so that those struggling to keep the re-invention of Bracknell on track can make it through.

Otherwise it seems hard to imagine what may become of one of the area’s best regeneration projects.

© Thames Tap No 228 (powered by

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