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Part of former BHS store to become a buffet restaurant

Posted on - 13th October, 2018 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Food & Drink, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment, Restaurants in Preston
BHS has stood empty since its closure in 2016 Pic: Blog Preston
BHS has stood empty since its closure in 2016 Pic: Blog Preston

An enormous buffet restaurant could be coming to Preston city centre in what used to be the BHS store.

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Plans have been lodged to convert the first-floor of the building in Fishergate which has stood empty for more than two years.

Now Spoon World Buffet have applied to create a 400-seat restaurant serving Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Sushi, Asian and British cuisine.

Current owners Freemont Ltd have recently been ordered by Preston City Council to board up the front of the store and its doorways, which has become a hot-spot for those sleeping in the rough in the city.

Documents from the Proietti Design architects explain how the former BHS is due to be split up into smaller units with Spoon World taking the first-floor.

Read more: New name and menu for Preston restaurant

An existing side entrance to BHS would be worked on the give an access via Guildhall Street.

The buffet restaurant would have a maximum seating time of one-and-a-half hours on a weekday and two-hours on a weekend.

Currently operating in Chatham and Basildon the chain is expanding to the north and says it doesn’t expect to be at peak capacity – especially during the week.

Opening times would be 12noon to 3pm for lunch Monday to Saturday and 5pm to 10.30pm for dinner on the same days.

On Sundays and Bank Holidays it would be open from 12noon to 10pm.

Read more: Solita announces it is closing in Preston city centre

A statement from the buffet firm said: “It is our opinion that an A3 (restaurant) use is an appropriate usage of the site which will give new employment opportunities and will benefit the local town centre.”

Reaction from business groups and the council

Mark Whittle from Preston Business Improvement District, who are responsible for promoting the city centre, said: “We’ve been pushing for some time for the building owners to bring the building back to a good state of repair, particularly the entrance and ground floor.

“Sadly, owing to administration and legal issues following the demise of BHS as a company, there were complications with the lease which significantly delayed the process.

“However, our ultimate wish was for the building to find new tenants, it’s a key building in the middle of the high street and deserves to be utilised.

“We’re delighted that a planning application has been made to turn the ground floor in to a restaurant and would very much like to see a new business flourish in such a significant building.”

Town centre ward councillor Drew Gale said: “I welcome such investment in our city, yet more evidence that ‘Preston is open for business’. I will give it try myself once open.”

You can see the full restaurant plans on the city council website and leave comments there.

What do you think about Spoon’s plans? Let us know in the comments below

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