A multi-million scheme for Preston Markets is no April Fool as the latest plans have been revealed.Advertisement
An 11 screen cinema, seven restaurants and a new multi-storey car park are proposed in the £50m Markets Quarter.
The Light cinema chain has been signed up to operate the proposed large format experience screen cinema.
As it stands the plans include keeping the frontage of Lancastria House although the rest of the building, along with the current Indoor Market and Market Hall car park would be demolished.
Chief executive of Preston City Council Lorraine Norris hailed the next stage in the Markets Scheme as ‘an amazing opportunity’.
She said: “The Markets Quarter is a flagship development for Preston. It’s about breathing new life into the market and securing the wider regeneration of Preston City Centre. It’s also about Preston raising its game and fulfilling its role as the economic and cultural centre of Lancashire.
“This is a chance for people to see the scale of the ambition and the true potential that this development offers. Markets Quarter is wholesale regeneration of the centre and complements the future investments in the Bus Station, the Guild Hall and the Harris. These are exciting times for Preston and we look forward to hearing people’s views.”
Original plans for the Market were taken back to the drawing board in summer 2015 when the city council decided to change the architects involved.
They have also authorised spending additional funds on the project to increase the size and scale of it.
Cinema provider The Light say the screens will feature state-of-the-art digital picture and sound auditoriums, VIP luxury seating and feature the latest blockbusters, independent and international films, plus the best live opera, ballet, theatre and pop concerts.
CEO of The Light Keith Pullinger said: “We are extremely excited to be working alongside Muse to deliver the Council’s vision for the Markets Quarter area.
“Preston is such an amazing opportunity to provide a high quality cinema facility which the city has been lacking for a considerable period of time. Cinemas play an important role in attracting people into the city centre and we are determined to deliver a really special destination. We offer a completely different experience to existing operators in the area and are confident local residents will really be excited by what we can offer above and beyond the main blockbusters.”
Developers Muse and the Frank Whittle Partnership said they are now taking the plans to public consultation before they are formally submitted.
Related: Preston Fish Market restoration: Fencing goes up as contractors begin canopy works
Regional director for Muse Developments Mike Horner said: “We are working extremely hard to deliver a high quality scheme which is long overdue for Preston City Centre. The proposals are truly spectacular and will include views out across the City Centre and beyond.
“The Light are making a name for themselves in new cinema experiences and they are a great fit for Preston as they do not solely show mainstream cinema releases but also a wide range of other arts, culture, sporting and educational productions – it is not ‘more of the same’ in terms of cinema provision but a destination that will truly excite local residents and get people back into the City Centre.
“The Markets Quarter redevelopment is a once in a generation opportunity to transform the perception of Preston City Centre and establish it as the premier family-focused leisure destination.
“It is not a quick fix solution but instead represents the critical part of a long-term strategy for the successful regeneration of an area within the City Centre which contains a number of historic buildings and assets.
“We are extremely confident that local residents and businesses will recognise the significant benefits that the Markets Quarter will deliver to the City Centre as a whole.”
The plan is linked to the City Deal, a £430m investment in new roads and homes across Preston and South Ribble.
Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Edwin Booth said: “Our multi-million pound investment in major new infrastructure via the City Deal is helping to strengthen Preston’s position as a thriving and well connected commercial centre in the Northern Powerhouse.
“A successful Markets Quarter will make an important contribution to the growth of Preston City Centre which lies at the heart of the City Deal area. It’s great to see new investment proposals coming forward which will generate new jobs and new private investment with more people also visiting the city.”
The consultation event, which is open to the public, is to be held at St. George’s Shopping Centre in the Upper Mall (Friargate end) on the following dates and times:
Saturday 9th April: 11am to 3pm
Monday 11th April: 11am to 3pm
What do you think of the new Market plans? Will you be attending the consultation events? Let us know in the comments below