At last! Preston's planning chiefs give green light to new £40million flagship leisure complex with cinema and restaurants

Preston’s planning committee has given the green light to the development of a £40million entertainment and leisure complex in the city centre.

By Matthew Calderbank
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 12:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2022, 12:17 pm

Live update from the Local Democracy Reporting Service

Councillors unanimously approved the plans today (Thursday, March 31) when they met to decide the fate of the planned complex – dubbed ‘Animate’ – on the former site of the indoor market and multi-storey car park.

A report prepared for the meeting had recommended that approval be granted, but today’s official go-ahead means work can now begin on the long-planned project, which was first conceived in 2010.

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The new £40million 'Animate' leisure complex will be built on the site of Preston's former indoor market and will include an eight-screen cinema, restaurants, bowling alley, a street food hub and car park

Councillors were told that the Animate scheme, submitted jointly by the council and Maple Grove Developments, could bring in £7million a year to the local economy and create up to 140 jobs.

Work is expected to start within months and the development– which will include an 8-screen cinema, restaurants, bowling alley, a street food hub and car park – could be open by Spring 2024.

Hollywood Bowl is already confirmed as one of the tenants, with plans for a 16-lane bowling alley, and the Council said operators are already lined up for the other outlets.

The leisure complex will have four floors, with parking for 164 cars on Level One, accessed from Ringway and Tenterfield Street.

The new leisure complex as seen from the top of Orchard Street

Level Two will be at ground level facing the market and will have four restaurants/bars, a street food hub, bowling alley and terraced seating area.

On Level Three will be the cinema lobby with its eight screens, a ‘competitive social unit’ - for crazy golf, pool or an escape room - and a large restaurant with roof terrace looking out over the market.

Full report to follow...

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