Axing the planned cinema will cause the £40m regeneration scheme for Bognor Regis to collapse.
The miniplex of some four screens is essential to the success of the scheme being put together by St Modwen.
The development company is preparing to put its latest plans on show in the town next week.
But Arun District Council senior economic development officer Anthony Everitt said at its Bognor Regis regeneration sub-committee last Wednesday it was clear only a cinema for the Regis Centre site would make the scheme work.
“In terms of why a cinema is so important, it is because of the footfall it brings to the development and the other leisure operators who are attracted to it because of that. No other attraction will achieve that.
“The alternative of what St Modwen do is nothing. If St Modwen walk away, Arun is back to the drawing board for what happens on that site. The level of interest we get in it will be very different to 2007.”
Cllr Norman Dingemans (Walberton) said: “If we don’t proceed with the cinema, we don’t get the restaurants and we will not have the money available to improve the theatre.
“We will lose something like £40m of investment in the town. That’s a major consideration when we come to consider the petition.”
Cllr Francis Oppler (Orchard) said the situation with St Modwen had to be made clear when people visited the exhibitions in the next month.
“They should know it is a cinema or nothing. That is hugely important. People have to be aware of that,” he said.
“And if regeneration amounts to a Tesco on the Hothamton site, a miniplex on the seafront and 167 flats in a possible five-, six-, seven-storey building, then I would like to see it fail.
“That is not regeneration for Bognor.”
Cllr Ricky Bower (East Preston) said nothing like those proposals was being considered.
What do you think?
Should residents be consulted on having another cinema in Bognor?
Cast your vote in the poll to the right of the screen and leave your comments below.