The £40m project looks set to be thrown out, after planning bosses said it could undermine over-arching plans for the city centre.
Plans had been lodged to build a three-storey extension to the centre, incorporating restaurants, a cinema and extra retail units, as well as alterations to the car park.
But a report to Preston Council’s planning committee said the emerging City Centre Plan proposes the allocation of the Markets Quarter for cinema development, and restricts such developments elsewhere in the city centre.
It said the development would bring economic benefits to the city and enhance “vitality and viability”.
But it said: “By virtue of the scale, nature and location of the development proposed the application is considered to be premature to the adoption of the emerging Preston City Centre Plan which proposes to allocate the Markets Quarter area of the city centre for cinema development.
“Approving the application in advance of the adoption of the Preston City Centre Plan would predetermine a decision fundamental to the successful delivery of the overall vision of the Preston City Centre Plan.”
More to follow.