Long-awaited plans to revamp Preston city centre with a £40m cinema and leisure complex will finally move to construction after councillors agreed a funding package for the project.
The new development, called ‘Animate’, will be located on the site of the former indoor market and will feature an eight-screen cinema and bowling alley along with five new restaurants and bars, a street-food hub, a car park, and new public square.
The scheme is being developed in partnership with Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group.
Negotiations with anchor operators for the cinema and bowling alley are at an advance stage, alongside strong interest for the restaurant units.
Subject to planning permission being granted, it is anticipated construction work on the project could begin in 2022 with the complex opening in spring 2024.
Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “This is a really positive step forward in our plans to bring this exciting development to Preston. The new development will breathe life into the city centre and reinforce the Harris Quarter as a premier cultural and leisure destination in Lancashire.”
Andrew Dewhurst, director of Maple Grove Developments, said: “We look forward to taking the development to the next stage and submitting a planning application this autumn.”
The development is one of six major projects planned under Preston’s Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, for which the city was awarded £20.9m from the government’s national Towns Fund initiative in March.