Shovels went into the ground on the site of the “Animate” project late last year after Preston City Council agreed the financing of its flagship £41m scheme.
While the building itself is yet to take shape, our cameras found extensive preparatory work in progress on the plot, whch housed the city’s old indoor market and multi-storey car park until both were demolished in 2019.
When planning permission was granted for the development in March 2022, it was estimated that it could be open as soon as 2024. While no firm completion date has yet been announced, the site is now a hive of activity – as photographer Neil Cross discovered.
1. Preston's "Animate" cinema and leisure complex work
An eight-screen Arc Cinema, 16-lane Hollywood Bowl, games outlet and several restaurant chains and street food operators will rise from the rubble of the old indoor market. Photo: Neil Cross
2. Preston's "Animate" cinema and leisure complex work
It is estimated that the development will create 140 jobs and generate around £7m a year for the local economy. Photo: Neil Cross
3. Preston's "Animate" cinema and leisure complex work
The idea for a city centre cinema dates back more than a decade to the ultimately doomed Tithebarn project. Photo: Neil Cross
4. Preston's "Animate" cinema and leisure complex work
The concept was resurrected in 2016, but it took another six years for a final design to come to fruition and planning permission to be granted. Photo: Neil Cross