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Source : 09/06/2000 Northampton Chronicle and Echo

The Jesus Army has hired the architects who handled the Roadmender revamp to turn a derelict cinema in Northampton into a place of worship.

The former Cannon cinema in Abington Square was bought by the fellowship for an undisclosed sum in March after a battle with councillors.

In August 1999 its planning application was tuned down by councillors who feared it would cause chaos in the centre of town.

Now the sect has appointed Gotch, Saunders and Surridge, who were responsible for the transformation of the Roadmender, in Lady's Lane, earlier this year.

John Campbell, Jesus Army director of communications, said the Art Deco building should be ready to open in 2001, hopefully by Easter.

He said 'This project will run into millions of pounds but it will be worth it when its done. There are a lot of people in the area who need help and the cinema is in a prime position.'

The listed building will replace Northampton School for Girls, in Spinny Hill, as the home for the church's Sunday services.

The existing three auditoriums will be knocked through to make a large area, seating about 1,500.

Ed Hunt, the fellowship's project manager, said: 'We are very excited by the work that Gotch, Saunders and Surridge had done at the Roadmender.'

'The cinema is a listed building, so we won't be seeing dramatic changes to the appearance but we do want a quality job that Northampton can be proud of.'