Looking back... Plans to redevelop Rathcoole’s Alpha cinema

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Newtownabbey’s Alpha cinema was to be redeveloped into a modern sports and social club in 1979.

According to the East Antrim Times, the premises had been purchased by Eastway Social Club.

The announcement was expected to be welcomed by Rathcoole residents who had been complaining about the lack of social amenities in the area.

One Eastway committee member said: “We are only moving across the road but it will be a general step towards enhancing the social life of Rathcoole.”

The new building was to be a two-storey premises complete with a restaurant.

James Hooks, chairman, of Eastway Sports and Social Club, indicated that the refurbishment was expected to cost approximately £150,000 to complete.

“We hope to build up the club in stages. After it gets on its feet, there will certainly be room for some expansion.

“We have already spent quite a lot of money on it.”

Previously, the cinema had been owned by Abbey Enterprises.

The East Antrim Times reported that a supermarket chain had also shown an interest in the premises.