Bosses of Peterborough’s Queensgate shopping centre have vowed that work on a £30 million cinema-led extension will start in the New Year.
Plans for the development were given the green light by Peterborough City Council two years ago, but soon after ran into problems with preferred cinema operator Odeon after it was taken over by an American company.
But Guy Thomas, head of retail at Lendlease, which operates the centre on behalf of owners Invesco, said a cinema was still a central part of its plans for the 77,000 sq ft extension to Queensgate.
He said: “We are finalising discussions with a major cinema operator.”
Lendlease has not revealed the identity of the operator for what was originally planned to be an 11 screen multiplex cinema.
The Queensgate development has always involved more than just a constructing a cinema within the centre.
Its plans include creating a restaurant and leisure hub as a key element of the extension.
The extension will be carried out jointly with John Lewis, which is releasing its under-used storage space to create a refurbished offering.
In addition, Next has given its support to the plans and will move into one of the new stores.
Mr Thomas said: “A leading fashion retailer has committed to the extension.
“The latter is to take a 25,000 sq ft store, double the size of their existing unit within the scheme.
“We are also in detailed negotiations with a number of leading restaurant operators to take space in the extension.
“We remain committed to starting work on the extension in the New Year.”
Mr Thomas did not give an exact start date for the construction works.
The plans to extend Queensgate received a positive reaction from the public.
About 400 people visited the public exhibition held in Queensgate in May, with more than 300 questionnaires submitted.
About 98 per cent of visitors gave their support to the plans, and the survey results highlighted a strong desire for a cinema and new restaurants in Queensgate.
The centre is currently completing an £8 million refurbishment of the interior of the 35-year-old shopping centre. The works have involved extensive changes that have included new lighting, doors and redesigned cladding, ceilings and internal finishes.
Lendlease say the aim is to create a bright, more modern and contemporary look to the centre.