Proposals for a new cinema and restaurant complex at a major shopping centre in Preston look set to be refused.Advertisement
Preston City Council’s planning committee is being urged to reject the Fishergate Shopping Centre’s £40m plan for Vue cinema to relocate from the Capitol Centre to the city centre.
Planning officers state the Fishergate scheme would be ‘premature’ and ‘inconsistent’ with what the city council has planned around the Markets area.
They also say Lancashire County Council highways department has ‘numerous concerns’ with how much of an impact traffic coming to the enlarge Fishergate centre would have on an already congested city centre.
Councillors are due to hear the Fishergate plans on Thursday (28 April) at the Town Hall.
Planning officers in their report confirm what Blog Preston reported in late February – when documents showed planning officers were lining up a recommendation based on the city centre plan not yet being adopted.
Related: Can Preston support two city centre cinema schemes?
Officers write: “The proposed development would deliver economic benefits to the city, enhancing the vitality and viability of the city centre and improving the retail and leisure offer.
“In addition, and subject to suitably worded conditions, the proposed development would not have any unacceptable adverse impacts on the street scene, residential amenity, ground conditions or flood risk.
“However, by virtue of the scale, nature and location of the development proposed the application is considered to be premature to the adoption of the emerging Preston City Centre Plan which proposes to allocate the Markets Quarter area of the city for cinema development.
“Approving the application in advance of the adoption of the Preston City Centre plan would predetermine a decision fundamental to the successful delivery of the overal vision of the Preston City Centre Plan, inconsistent with the ‘plan-led’ approach advocated in paragraph 196 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
“Furthermore by virtue of the submission of insufficient and unsatisfactory trip generation data, the full and precise extent of the impacts of the proposed development on highway safety and capacity cannot be robustly assessed.”
Fishergate Shopping Centre’s owners Benson Elliot, who are behind the multi-million pound plan for the former TJ Hughes store, have been approached for comment but had not yet responded to Blog Preston.
Related: Preston Markets canopy to be restored by same contractor as Fish Market
Preston Markets cinema scheme has not seen a planning application lodged, although Town Hall sources say it is ‘imminent’.
Muse Developments, who are overseeing the Preston Markets £50m cinema and restaurant complex scheme, have formally objected to the Fishergate plan.
What do you think of the Fishergate scheme? How do you think the planning committee will vote? Let us know your views in the comments below