A £50m transformation of Preston’s city centre – including an 11-screen cinema and five new restaurants – will be complete by 2020, developers said today.
The long-awaited go-ahead has been given to tear down Preston’s indoor market between Lancaster Road and Earl Street and replace it with a modern new development.
The move will also include a retail kiosk opposite Lime House and a new public plaza providing space for outdoor seating from the restaurants.
Building work will begin early next year, with demolition of the indoor market starting in 2018 so as to not affect market traders. Construction will then take roughly two years, with completion set for some time in 2020.
Iain Jenkinson, agent for the developers Muse Developments Ltd, said: “This development will have huge redevelopment and economic benefits, as well as improving the vitality of Preston city centre.
“This will also offer massive employment benefits and could offer around 162 full-time jobs.”
Planning committee member Coun Peter Moss added: “This is a fantastic way of attracting people to the city centre and is exactly the sort of thing the area needs.”
The market quarter development was submitted and led by Muse Developments Ltd along with the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal – as well the city council.
All existing structures on the Lancaster Road site will be demolished with the exception of the existing Lancastria House Art Deco facade – south and east elevations.
The new structure will include an experience cinema screen within a drum, that will protrude above the height of the retained facade.
Officers dismayed at the protruding drum’s tangerine colour in the CGI’s shown to them but the developer assured them a change in colour would be considered.
That aside, they were full of praise for the plans and councillor Stephen Thompson said: “We’ve been reading in the paper about how Preston is the best place to live and work in the North West.
“If we want to continue that then we need to welcome things like this.”
And chairman of the committee Brian Rollo, said: “This is a really exciting development and what we’re going to get is a vast improvement on what is there now.
“This is going to be a massive boost for the city of Preston.”