The long-awaited construction of a £60 million cinema-led extension to Peterborough’s Queesgate shopping centre is underway.
Work on the 77,000 sq ft expansion of the 37-year-old centre has just began and will be carried out in two phases.
The first phase is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2020.
The initial works will be carried out in partnership with John Lewis, which is giving up some of its unused space to help create room for the 10-screen Empire cinema development.
The full extension - which will feature the cinema plus a string of restaurants and new stores - is expected to be finished by the autumn of 2021.
It is expected that the extension will create 200 job opportunities - a 10 per cent increase in the total number of people employed by Queensgate.
Mark Broadhead, centre director at Queensgate, said that at the moment and for the coming months the construction work would all be behind the scenes and would not be seen by shoppers.
“As we prepare for the arrival of the Empire cinema and the new extension, there is a lot of interest in Peterborough city centre from new and exciting brands.
Mr Broadhead added: “We continue to work hard to support our existing retailers and look forward to making further announcements in due course.”
News of the start of construction work comes nearly four years after the development was approved by Peterborough City Council planners.