A planning application for the city owned multi-million pound Animate cinema and leisure complex has been lodged by Preston City Council.

Since the scheme was first proposed, plans have progressed to improve the previously consented proposals and respond to the current leisure market trends.

The planning application includes an eight screen cinema; 16 lane bowling alley; competitive social unit (suitable for a range of uses); 5 family restaurants; a street food hub; public realm improvements; 164 space car park; a Changing Places’ facility and associated servicing arrangements.

The Animate scheme aims to bring growth and development to the city centre, create a quality leisure destination to bring families back into Preston and make the city the ‘place to be’. As well as bringing in over £7million of extra economic activity every year while creating 140 full time equivalent jobs.

This planning application has now been submitted to Preston City Council’s Planning Department. A period of consultation will be open to allow the public the opportunity to express their views on the proposed development. The application will be considered and decided by the Planning Committee, which is made up of elected councillors.

Subject to achieving planning permission work is programmed to begin on site in Summer 2022.

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “This planning application is the vital next step in the Animate scheme, which aims to bring key investment and jobs to benefit the people of Preston, as well as stimulating investment in the surrounding area. It is a central part of our ambitions for a more democratic local economy with the asset retained in city ownership once developed.

“The scheme aims to enhance the leisure offer within the city centre, build resiliency as we recover from Covid and make Preston a key destination to live, work and visit. Now the application has been submitted, it will be considered by the planning committee who will make their decision over the coming weeks.”

Andrew Dewhurst, director of Maple Grove Developments, commented: “This joint planning application, submitted by Preston City Council and Maple Grove Developments aims to create a leading leisure destination within the city centre.

“We’ve worked closely with the City Council and Leach Rhodes Walker Architects in developing the design and scheme content, to ensure the Animate project will meet the goal of creating a thriving, sustainable city centre offer for everyone to enjoy.”

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