FALMOUTH’S Phoenix Cinema could be “severely damaged” if proposals for a new multiplex at Pool become a reality.

Town councillors have pledged their support for the multi-screen cinema in Berkeley Vale after hearing from Geoff Greaves, owner of Merlin Cinemas, who fears for the future of his business should the Pool development go ahead.

He told councillors on Monday that Cornwall Council proposes to sell off the running track at Pool and reinvest the money generated in Carn Brea leisure centre. Salmon Harvester Properties Ltd has indicated it would like to use the vacated land to house a multiplex cinema, a supermarket and four restaurants.

Mr Greaves said: “Our concern is the multiplex cinema element of this. It is fact that if the multiplex goes ahead it will likely close the cinemas in St Ives, Helston and probably Redruth and may damage my businesses at the Phoenix and Savoy.

“Cinema is a marginal business and if we lose any aspect of our business it could put in jeopardy our ability to reinvest in the business and continue. A slice of our business would be lost to the multiplex at Pool.

“If this goes ahead and we have not brought it to councils, we would be sleepwalking into a situation where some of our cinemas would close and others, like Falmouth and Penzance, would be severely damaged.”

A petition against the multiplex has already attracted 10,000 signatures and a Facebook campaign is gathering pace. Mr Greaves is hoping Cornwall Council members will oppose the proposal when an application is submitted and is looking for the backing of town councils.

“I would hope I can count on the support of town councils to point out when this application comes, the potential damage it could to do their cinemas,” he said.

Councillors Steve Eva said: “There was an absolute fortune spent on repairing the building (the old Drill Hall in Falmouth) and the cinema is such a success it is something Geoff should be proud of.

“We should be saying that if this land is sold off, the money is used for sporting facilities rather than something that’s already well covered by Merlin Cinemas.”

Councillor David Saunby added: “We lost the Odeon and Grand cinemas and it was quite a lot of years before the Phoenix came along. We cannot afford to put this cinema in jeopardy. Now we have got it, we should back the Phoenix.”

Falmouth town councillors have given their unanimous support to Mr Greaves’ campaign to safeguard the future of Merlin Cinemas’ five operations in Cornwall.