The date has been set for work to begin on a key aspect of Preston’s forthcoming city centre cinema and leisure development.Advertisement
Construction of the ‘Animate’ complex, on the one-time site of the old indoor market and multi-storey car park, has been ongoing for more than a year. The £45m scheme – which includes restaurants, a street food hub and bowling alley – is due to open in early 2025.
Part of the project includes better connecting the location to the bus station and improving the road that will be used to access the new car park.
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Those works are now set to begin on 4th March, after Preston City Council agreed to hand control of a small parcel of land it owns to Lancashire County Council, in order to facilitate the changes.
With a much smaller car park servicing the development than the multi-storey that previously stood on the plot – totalling just 164 spaces, compared to over 550 in the former market park-up – it is hoped that visitors to the attraction can be tempted to use public transport.
To increase the chances of that, Old Vicarage will be upgraded to improve the link between the site and the bus station, as well as with the planned changes to Lancaster Road, which will include taxi provision and better pedestrian crossing points.
Meanwhile, Tenterfield Street – which will act as an access point to Animate’s car park, via the existing slip road passing beneath Ringway, in the same way it did to the old multi-storey – will also be modified.
Both sets of work are expected to be completed by the end of October, but before they can begin, an agreement has to be entered into between the city council, county council and Maple Grove Developments Ltd., which is delivering the scheme. That will allow the firm, with planning permission, “to modify, alter or reconstruct the adopted public highway”.
However, a 33sqm area of land on the western side of Tenterfield Street is not currently classed as such a highway; and the freehold on the land – which previously formed the access to the indoor market hall’s service area on the ground floor of the multi-story – is owned by the city council.
The authority’s cabinet has now agreed to “dedicate” the small space to Lancashire County Council, which will then become responsible for maintaining it at public expense.
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