How Preston Markets will look after a major redevelopment to include a cinema and restaurant complex has been revealed.Advertisement
Preston City Council bosses claim the Markets Quarter development will be a “game-changer” for the city centre.
Proposals drawn up by architects IBI Taylor Young show the refurbished Victorian Covered Market with traders now occupying new units.
The Indoor Market Hall, car park and Lancastria House are all to be demolished and in its place a new multi-screen cinema and restaurant complex built.
Market Traders met with city council leader councillor Peter Rankin on Monday night to have their say on the plans.
Norman Young, who runs Banana King in the Indoor Market and a Preston Markets Twitter account, said traders were optimistic about the proposals.
He said: “We welcome the proposals. The scheme finally looks like something which traders can work with.
“With a few tweaks the proposed design should see Preston Market move into the 21st century with confidence.”
Traders had previously been unhappy with plans to relocate permanent units such as meat and fish sellers into the outdoor market.
Councillor Peter Rankin said: “The Markets are important to Preston and a key part of the city’s culture and heritage. So we want to invest in the markets and provide a new market that is better for customers and traders alike. The next stage is to consult with market traders to make sure we can deliver a market that is vibrant, sustainable and fit for the city of Preston
“This Markets Quarter development is at the very heart of our ambitious vision for Preston. Our goal is for a game changing, new cinema development. City Centres have to offer much more than ever before. It’s no longer just about shopping. It’s about vibrancy, uniqueness, culture, heritage, events, food and drink and things to do. Through the Markets Quarter development, Preston can offer this and more.”
The city council says it is “pushing the boat out” to finance the scheme and has partnered with Muse Developments Limited on the scheme, alongside architects Frank Whittle Partnership who were announced in March as overseeing the redevelopment.
A council spokesman would not say how much was being invested but indicated the entire city centre capital investment pot was available to throw at the project and the scheme would involve public and private investment.
The city council is not selling the land as part of the deal, the covered market is to be owned and operated by the city council after any redevelopment.
Mike Horner, regional director Muse Developments Limited, said: “Preston is a great city and a great place to invest. It has huge potential and we are delighted to be on board with the Markets Quarter development.
“These really are exciting plans for Preston, indeed for the North West. We are looking at a major cinema development – one that would draw people from across the county. And with a cinema you also attract a wide range of restaurants and bars that will really compliment the re-vitalised markets and Preston’s cultural offer. So, lots for Preston to be positive and proud about.”
A multi-screen cinema is due to anchor the new look Markets complex.
There is no confirmation on who the cinema provider will be but Vue Cinemas are understood to be reviewing their current location at the Capitol Centre retail park.
In 2014 a major study into cinema going in Preston found there was a need for a city centre cinema, even with two multi-screen cinemas already operating on the outskirts of the city.
Lancashire County Council has pledged its support to the redevelopment of the Market.
Leader of the county council Jennifer Mein said: “The Markets Quarter development is a great vision for the future of Preston and we are fully behind it.
“Preston city centre is an important part of the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal and its success acts as a major economic driver for the county as a whole.
“It is essential that we continue to create the conditions for the city and the surrounding area to flourish, and this new development will be a key part of that, alongside other important projects such as our plans to develop Preston Bus Station and ongoing work to improve Fishergate and other gateways to the city centre.”
Final plans are being drawn up for the markets and a planning application is expected later this year or in early 2016.
The Markets quarter plan follows the failed Tithebarn redevelopment plan which eventually collapsed in 2011 when John Lewis pulled out – after years of stalled negotiations.
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