They had previously issued an ultimatum, and a deadline of 24 October for the cinema owner to start work on the stalled scheme.
The council plans to acquire the site, and sell it to an alternative developer.
Council leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: “We have stated that we expect to see a construction contract in place to consider that work has commenced. No evidence of this has been provided by Empire and the site is as derelict now as it was in 2008 when they demolished the old cinema. We’ve been very patient with them but enough is enough.”
The decision to apply for a compulsory purchase order was made at a meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday 25 July 2012. It was also agreed that the council should start looking for a developer or partner to buy the site and build the cinema. The council says it has since received strong interest from several major developers.
Councillor Bell added: “After months of repeatedly calling Empire to move the project forward we have seen no evidence of their intention to do so. We will now progress without them; apply for the compulsory purchase order, select a new developer and move a step closer to the new cinema we’ve all been waiting for.”