THE new boss of Odeon in the UK has hailed its new Bournemouth cinema as a flagship for innovations that will be rolled out elsewhere in the company.

Carol Welch was in Bournemouth for the opening of the new Odeon at the BH2 leisure complex.

Her visit came four weeks after she was appointed managing director of Odeon UK and Ireland.

“This is one of our flagship cinemas. There’s a number of things you won’t see in any other Odeon in the UK,” she told the Daily Echo at the launch event.

The new Odeon replaces its 88-year-old predecessor on Westover Road as well as the nearby ABC, which had been under the same ownership since 2000.

Carol Welch praised the track record of local staff, including former ABC deputy manager Daphne Klos, who has notched up 48 years with Bournemouth’s cinemas.

“We have a long history with Bournemouth and a really proud one. It’s a beautiful are and we love the community as well. We’ve got people who’ve been with us a long time as team members,” she said.

She added: “The members of the team really know the local community. I think that’s really important, but the important thing for the group is to really bring something that’s more of a flagship for Europe into Bournemouth.”

She said the development would help bring a “flagship feel to the whole town”.

Odeon & UCI Cinema Group was bought last summer by AMC Entertainment, the US chain which is majority-owned by the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda. It was the first major sale to follow the collapse in the value of the pound after the EU referendum and AMC described it as an “opportunistic” deal.

Dalian Wanda also owns Poole’s luxury boat builder Sunseeker International.

Odeon was owned for decades by the Rank Organisation before being sold to venture capital firms Cinven and then Terra Firma.

Bournemouth’s 10-screen Odeon includes a big iSense screen with 56-channel Dolby Atmos sound, an expanded range of food, bars, a Costa coffee outlet and Coke Freestyle machines where customers can mix their own soft drinks.

Ms Welch told an invited audience: “What I’ve seen since I joined Odeon is a commitment to bringing innovation and commitment to developing everything we can do for our guests.

“It’s wonderful our team here in Bournemouth have been with us for many years and we’re able to have quite a big heritage and historic inks with the town.”

She added: “The team have been working extraordinarily hard both down here in Bournemouth but also the teams back in our corporate centre to make this come to life.”

She said the multiplex on Bournemouth’s former bus station site in Exeter Road had been suggested around 2000. “It’s been a long time coming,” she added

The mayor of Bournemouth, Cllr Eddie Coope, said after the screening: “It’s great that Odeon has decided to open its flagship cinema complex here in Bournemouth, boosting local jobs and investment.”