IT was very much the end of one era and the beginning of a new one in terms of Blackburn’s leisure history this week.

The foundations for Blackburn town centre’s new £10million cinema have been laid and filled with concrete ready for building work to begin.

Kailash Chander ‘KC’ Suri, owner of nationwide Reel Cinema chain, said progress on the development was ‘very exciting’. He was speaking after Barnfield Construction posted photographs of the concrete pouring operation. The town’s former Waves pool has been cleared to make way for the new cinema.

The firm’s post said: “Reel Cinema, 223 cubic metres of concrete poured into the central core pad foundation and drainage now being installed ­— always lots of smiles.”

Mr Suri said he hoped the new cinema on the Nab Lane site of the former Waves water fun centre, his company’s purchase and redevelopment of the vacant Lemon Tree pub (formerly The Jubilee) and £3.8million Heritage Lottery-backed regeneration Blakey Moor and Northgate would revive that part of the town.

He said: “It is very exciting to see this progress. The actual cinema should soon start to rise from the foundations that have been laid. When all this is finished, it should be a real leisure honeypot for Blackburn.”

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s regeneration boss, said: “Things are progressing well with the Reel cinema. It is really exciting and we should soon see the framework of the building rising up before us.”

The cinema, complete with parking and two leisure units, likely to be a coffee shop and bar-restaurant, is expected to be complete by November.

The building will be handed to independent cinema operator Reel to fit out the cinema, with a planned opening of Easter 2020. Reel has agreed an initial 20 year-lease with Blackburn with Darwen Council.