What shoppers need to know as work starts on a £60 million leisure extension to Peterborough's Queensgate shopping centre

Work officially starts today (Monday) on a £60-million cinema-led extension to Peterborough's Queensgate shopping centre.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 6:01 am

For shoppers, the main disruption will be to some bus services with a temporary bus station in Acland Street going into operation from today.

It will replace a section of the Queensgate bus station, which will be closed during the 18 month project for health and safety reasons as construction workers will require regular access to the roof of the centre.

The new extension to the centre will feature a 10-screen Empire cinema complete with iMAX on the roof adjacent to the John Lewis & Partners store.

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How the cinema could look once completed.

A chain of restaurants and retail stores will also be created on the levels beneath the cinema with a total of 77,000 square feet being added to the existing building and creating more than 200 jobs.

The new attractions should open in late 2021.

But shoppers are being assured that their shopping and customer experience during the construction will be unaffected, and stores will remain open throughout the works.

A centre spokesman said: "Most of the work will be taking place behind the scenes – but shoppers can expect to see cranes and scaffolding around the centre, as well as some visible works in the West Mall.

The cinema will be built on the Queensgate roof.

The project is being led by McLaren Construction, an international construction contractor which operates across the UK and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

McLaren will carry out the vertical extension, closing off parts of the building for redevelopment, while the centre is still fully operational.

Stephen Randall, Project Director at McLaren, said: "This is a challenging build – we know from our experience in building mixed-use leisure and restaurant developments that we have to be innovative with the project scheduling, using modern construction methods to carry out the demolition and major works - to minimise disruption to Peterborough’s shoppers.

Jay Newman, Managing Director – South at McLaren, said: "The second phase of this major redevelopment at Queensgate will provide an exciting new cultural entertainment hub

This image shows the new-look Queensgate.

for local people and visitors to Peterborough.

"Once complete, the new facilities will also create 200 new jobs for local people.

"We are working closely with the local community and Queensgate to bring further employment opportunities to the area during the construction programme.”

Mark Broadhead, centre director at Queensgate, said: "We are extremely excited to say that works have finally begun.

"We are proud to be creating a wonderful asset for Peterborough, one which will put us firmly on the retail and leisure map and help to shape our future.

"We are very much looking forward to working with McLaren on this project as they have already proven to be professional, methodical and sympathetic to the needs of our shoppers and retailers.”

The start of work on the cinema follows a lengthy campaign by Queensgate owners Invesco and its managers Lendlease.

Plans for the development were approved by Peterborough City Council in 2015 but that triggered an unsuccessful High Court challenge by Hawksworth Securities, which had also secured planning approval for its cinema-led development of North Westgate.

In addition, construction of the cinema had to wait for the completion of a £21 million revamp for John Lewis, which has given up some of its unwanted space to allow the extension of the cinema to take place.

For more details about changes to bus services, visit www.queensgate-shopping.co.uk/whats_on/queensgate-shopping-centre-temporary-bus-station-redirection/