Developer Sheridan Group faces being removed from a late-running Imax cinema scheme by Bournemouth Borough Council.

The cinema is part of a £15m leisure and retail complex called The Waterfront, being developed jointly by Dublin-based Sheridan and the council.

The cinema was scheduled to open in November 1999 but missed its deadline. Fit-out work failed to restart in January, and no date has been set for this. It is also understood that a number of contractors on the scheme are owed money by the developer.

A council spokesperson said: “After a catalogue of excuses from Sheridan, we are very frustrated and very disappointed. We have made demands for an immediate meeting but they are a very difficult company to pin down. At the moment, they are the people we’re working with and we’re in consultation with our lawyer.”

The main contractor for the scheme, Mowlem subsidiary Ernest Ireland, declined to discuss financial issues surrounding the project. A spokesperson said: “The job is in postponement. We have a good relationship with Sheridan and are looking forward to finishing the job.” However he was unable to say when work would resume.

Electrical contractor NG Bailey confirmed that it withdrew from the project three weeks ago but declined to comment further.

Sheridan Group chief executive Tyrone Allard said: “Work has been delayed due to technical problems that have become the subject of legal correspondence.”

He added: “Ernest Ireland has been paid. There is no substance to rumours suggesting Sheridan has had to seek refinancing to complete the project. We expect the cinema to be open for the summer season.”

Allard said part of the delay had been caused by projection equipment, which the company is waiting for Imax to install.