SWINDON residents were left disappointed and saddened by the sudden closure of Empire Cinema.

The news came as a shock to many loyal patrons who had enjoyed countless movie screenings and events at the Greenbridge Retail Park venue.

The closure announcement sparked a wave of reactions on the Swindon Advertiser's Facebook page, with users expressing their thoughts on the matter.

Richard Heasman said: "Really gutted and sad. That was also the only IMAX cinema for miles around you can't experience that on even the largest home TV's.

"A big loss!"

Jehane Nabil Robertson added: "This is such sad news for staff and Swindon. Loved that cinema."

Trish Millington said: "So, so sad. But unfortunately I am not surprised. I am an avid cinema goer with my sister and we are quite often the only people at a screening.

"But I am also aware it is an expensive treat which not everyone can access."

While some comments focused on the closure itself, others highlighted concerns about the cinema's business practices.

Rob Jones said: "They weren't busy because they are greedy. They wanted to charge way over the odds for tickets and charge you a ridiculous amount for food and drink and sweets."

Alan Hart added: "The daft thing is, if they charged £3 or £4 a ticket their cinema would be absolutely packed with customers, and if their concessions were cheaper they'd sell loads more!"

But Adam Whatley disagreed, he said: "Doesn't have much to do with ticket prices. More to do with the company debt."

As discussions unfolded, concerns were raised about the suddenness of the closure and the lack of communication with the staff.

Paul Broad said: "I think it's all totally wrong the way these things are done nowadays."

Leanne Newman expressed her disappointment, stating: "They should have told them before the day so at least they could try to find other jobs instead of turning up for work and being told they haven't got a job."

The sentiment was echoed by Lisa Glass, who criticised the management for not providing advance notice to the staff.

She said: "I think it's really sad... the decent thing was to notify staff, pre-warn them so they could make other arrangements."

Glass further suggested that the CEO should share his wages with the affected employees.

The closure of Empire Cinema also raised concerns about the impact on neighbouring businesses

Paul Broad said: "I said to waiter in Frankie and Bennies that I hope it doesn't impact their business to much because I'm sure that like me people eat out then go to the cinema or visa versa.

"Sadly without the cinema I won't be using them so much."

Andy Holt added: "The restaurants next door should also now be a concern, lots of jobs on the line there without the Cinema foot fall I’d imagine."

Others commented on the state of the film industry in general.

Barry Pendry said: "Suppose everyone just streams their films now. Should put an open air cinema there instead.

"I remember when Grease aired near Chippenham, hundreds of cars went to see it on the night I went."

Charlie Thomas added: "The death of cinema. I used to love going to the cinema but there are no decent films anymore."

Carl Robertson said: "Shame. But cinema is dead anyway. It costs too much money for a ticket and food and drink and pretty much all the big releases have been complete flops."

As the Facebook comments continued, a mix of emotions emerged. From anger towards management to sadness for the loss of jobs, the overall sentiment was one of disappointment.