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Preston Markets Cinema scheme sees new developers brought in

Posted on - 27th August, 2019 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Redevelopment
The cinema complex itself, which will be run by The Light chain
The cinema complex itself, which will be run by The Light chain

A new developer is being brought in to help draw-up scaled-back proposals for a new cinema and restaurants scheme in Preston city centre.

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Maple Grove Developments, a sub-division of Bamber Bridge-based Eric Wright Group, are now joining the project team.

Preston City Council confirmed they will work jointly with Muse Developments on the revised planning application for the Markets cinema and car park.

Work with demolishing the former Market Hall car park and Indoor Market Hall has continued since January.

Demolition work at the former Market Hall car park Pic: Stephen Melling
Demolition work at the former Market Hall car park Pic: Stephen Melling

In February it was confirmed the flagship regeneration scheme for the city had slipped back by a year, to 2021, and would also no longer include the demolition of Lancastria House.

Proposals are for an 11-screen cinema, numerous restaurants and a new multi-storey car park. The previous scheme was due to see a £50million total investment.

Leader of the city council councillor Matthew Brown said: “As the old market hall and car park are being demolished, this is a positive next step for this important city centre site.

“We are confident that there is a sustained demand for this scheme which will complement and strengthen the existing leisure and cultural offer across the city centre, including Preston Markets, the Harris and the Guild Hall, as well as the wide range of established independent businesses.

“We are also committed to ensure the scheme when completed will be in city ownership, building a more resilient and democratic economy in Preston.

“We believe that Maple Grove Developments are ideally placed to take the scheme forward into the implementation phase and we are pleased to be working with a local business with a strong focus on social purpose.”

Read more: Rents cut for Market Hall traders and major investment to solve the cold is promised

The Light Cinema group are understood to still be the preferred operator for the cinema on the site.

A view of how the cinema development may look
A view of how the cinema development may look

What the developers have to say

Development director at Muse Mike Horner said: “We’re delighted to have reached this important milestone with the Council, and we now look forward to working in partnership with Maple Grove to deliver this exciting scheme for Preston city centre.

“True regeneration is all about creating the right solution to meet the city’s needs, with the community absolutely at its heart, and we’re pleased to be working with Maple Grove to deliver the Council’s vision for this new leisure development.”

Managing director at Maple Grove Developments Karen Hirst said: “We are looking forward to working with Preston City Council, in partnership with Muse to deliver this excellent project.

“As part of the Eric Wright Group, Lancashire is Maple Grove’s home county and we are proud to be playing a key role in the creation of a new vibrant night-time economy for Preston.”

Timescale for the Markets Cinema

The city council says the decision to bring in Maple Grove ‘is not expected to have a significant impact on the timescale for the scheme’.

Work is continuing to finalise the layout and design of the scheme with a planning application expected in the coming months for the revised Markets Cinema.

Read more: Labour apologise for Markets tweet ahead of offer to traders

Who are the new developers?

Maple Grove will be the third development firm to be involved in the overall Markets scheme which includes the new Market Hall and now the cinema and restaurants complex.

Frank Whittle Partnership were the first to be involved in March 2015 before the first Markets designs were scrapped in August of that year.

Muse were brought in from April 2016 when the revised scheme was first announced, including the current Market Hall design under the Outdoor Market canopies.

Maple Grove’s previous schemes include the current ongoing redevelopment of Chorley town centre with its cinema and restaurant scheme.

Other recent work includes Wainwright’s Yard in Kendal, Albion Place in Skipton and Blackburn’s Cathedral Quarter.

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