The pressure on councillors to approve plans for a new cinema and restaurant complex at a city shopping centre has been ramped up.Advertisement
Fishergate Shopping Centre’s owners Benson Elliot have released a new survey which they say shows Preston could support up to three multi-screen cinemas.
Retail experts GCW were commissioned by the hedge fund to investigate how many cinemas other cities and towns have.
A partner at GCW David Gooch said: “Our research shows cities like Preston have an average of three cinemas serving their urban area and being supported by filmgoers.
“There’s a mix and variety of multiplexes, independents and city centre and out of town venues for people to choose from.
“This reinforces our belief Preston can actually support three cinemas, be they in the city centre or out of town. Vue has also shown its confidence in the city centre with its commitment to open a cinema in the new Fishergate Centre.”
GCW point to places such as Stoke-on-Trent where with a population 20 per cent greater than Preston it supports six cinemas, three in the city centre and three out of town.
Related: Can Preston support two city centre cinemas?
Fishergate’s cinema and restaurants plan is awaiting debate by the city council’s planning committee.
Planning officers have hinted in a report the plan may be recommended for refusal, pointing to how a city centre plan is not formally adopted.
Preston City Council’s £50m scheme for the Markets, which includes an 11-screen cinema and restaurant complex, has been unveiled and is being consulted on.
City council chief executive Lorraine Norris would not be drawn to comment on the Fishergate scheme during a consultation event.
Director of retail at Benson Elliot Peter Cornforth said: “We believe Preston has undersold itself for too long and has not attracted the levels of investment its size and location merit.
“Our £40 million investment will bring hundreds of new jobs to the city and deliver a rounded leisure experience the residents of the city will enjoy.
“Crucially, we believe our investment will be the catalyst for other major regeneration schemes to get off the ground, including the council’s Markets Quarter plan which we very much welcome and endorse.
Related: Explore Preston’s cinematic history
“We already have confirmation from Vue they believe a cinema in the Fishergate Centre is the right location for a state-of-the-art multiplex. The Markets Quarter plans are for a different cinema offer and that’s good news for Preston.
“A key part of our plans are to make sure major retail brands like Primark and TK Maxx can significantly increase their retail floorspace in the centre and we know many more major national names want to open up in Preston.
Related: Which big name restaurants are queuing up to serve in Fishergate centre?
What do you think of the research? Can Preston support both the new cinema developments? Let us know your views in the comments below