TOFT Road’s historic cinema will undergo a £170,000 transformation next month as it relaunches as Curzon Knutsford.

Building work is set to begin on the cinema’s revamp on February 4, which will culminate with a ‘film premiere’-style opening night on February 28.

Curzon Cinemas signed a 25-year lease with Cheshire East Council to manage the 180-seat cinema in November – the company’s first outside of London.

The arthouse and independent film specialist is spending around £110,000 on a cafe area, floor and wall decorations and furniture and £60,000 on a digital projector.

Rob Kenny, director of cinema development at Curzon, said: “That was the important thing for us as it will give us the flexibility to get the films on release date, which wasn’t always happening.

“We’ll get films like Lincoln on the same day as London.”

The team behind Curzon Knutsford’s new look are Northamptonshire’s ABDA Creative Design, who designed Manchester’s National Football Museum.

Rob added: “We really liked what they did in Manchester, so we thought we’d use them in Knutsford.

“It’s exciting for us as we’ve been in London for an awful long time – Curzon Mayfair has been there for about 78 years.

“This is our first cinema outside of London, and Knutsford was an ideal place.

“It felt like the kind of town that would appreciate what we’re strong at, which will always be quality and independent film.

“At the same time we’ve been able to safeguard the cinema, and hope that people will be able to see, through the money invested, that we’re here to stay.

“The plan is probably to spend the same amount of money again.

“We’re looking at the potential for extra screens and opening up the front as well for an outside seating area, but we need to speak to the council about that.”

The front of the building will closed during the immediate works, but the cinema will still be open to the public with access from the side door.

Then on February 28, the great and the good of Knutsford will be invited to watch an exclusive film two weeks before its general release to mark the official launch.

Knutsford’s cinema opened in 1935 as the Marcliff Cinema, and was reopened as the Studio Cinema and Civic Centre in 1991.