Long-awaited plans to tear down Preston’s Indoor Market to make way for a major cinema development have been recommended for the green light.
Muse Developments Ltd has submitted a major application to demolish the structure, along with the multi-storey car park and all but the Art Deco facade of Lancastria House.
Officers have recommended the proposals for the go-ahead by Preston Council’s planning committee, saying it would bring “significant development” to the area.
But heritage campaigners have called on leaders to retain Lancastria House “in its entirety”, or adjust the plans which they fear would have a “detrimental impact”.
The plans are for the demolition of the existing buildings to allow for a multi-screen cinema, restaurants and new car park, as part of a £50m revamp of the Markets Quarter.
A report to Preston Council’s planning committee said part of the new structure, within the retained facade of Lancastria House, would include an “experience cinema screen within a drum”, that would “protrude above the height of the retained facade”.
It said the main building would include 10 cinema screens and five restaurants in the southern half, with a multi-storey car park in the northern half.
Plans also include a retail kiosk opposite Lime House and a new public plaza linking to the 1875 canopy, and providing space for outdoor seating from the restaurants.
But the report said concerns had been raised from the Twentieth Century Society, which said Lancastria House was of “architectural and historical significance”.
It said: “It is considered that the vast, orange-clad massing of the cinema screen would have a detrimental impact, entirely dominating Lancastria House.
“The proposal would not enhance Lancastria House, contrary to the Preston Local Plan.
“Would prefer to see the building retained in its entirety, or the screen cladding changed to a more neutral colour and significantly reduced in height and stepped back further from the parapet and corner towers.”
But the officer’s report said: “The proposal would deliver an overall positive impact on the setting of the surrounding designated heritage assets.”