Preston's £40m cinema and leisure complex approved

Animate, the proposed city-owned cinema and leisure and complex, has been granted planning permission by Preston Council.

The development will be located on the site of the former indoor market. It will include an eight-screen cinema, bowling alley, food hall, new restaurants and bars and a new public square. In December, Hollywood Bowl was named as one of the anchor operators for the project.

The project will be funded by Preston’s Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, which received £20.9m from the government’s Towns Fund initiative in March 2021. It is being developed in partnership with Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group, and has been designed by Leach Rhodes Walker.

The council expects Animate to generate £7m of economic activity per year, and create 140 full-time equivalent jobs.

Chris Hayward, director of development and housing at Preston City Council: "This is fantastic news for Preston, and is a key milestone towards starting construction work later this year with the view to opening Animate in 2024. It’s a key project in Preston’s 15-year City Investment Plan and will contribute greatly to its ambitious vision to transform the city."

John Chesworth, executive chairman of Harrison Drury Solicitors and chair of the Preston Towns Fund Board added: "Animate is an important step forward in the delivery of the Towns Fund Investment Programme that will see a £200m investment transform the Preston’s Harris Quarter. It’ll act as a catalyst for further investment into Preston and will be a valuable asset in positioning the City as an attractive place to live and work.”