PLANS for a £13m leisure development at Broughton Shopping Park have been given the go-ahead.
But the decision means the current Cineworld cinema on the Greyhound Park will close, which critics say will threaten Chester’s bid to be named City of Culture 2017 and would deprive residents of a local cinema and ‘seriously impact their recreational interests’.
Two rival bids to build Flintshire’s first cinema complex went before the county council’s planning committee at County Hall, Mold, yesterday (Wednesday).
After a lengthy debate members decided to back a full planning application for an 11-screen Cineworld cinema and five restaurants including Frankie and Benny’s, Chiquito and Pizza Express, which was put forward by the Hercules Unit Trust (HUT) for the shopping park.
The rival bid, an outline application by Development Securities, for a six-screen cinema, 80-bed hotel, food and drink units and 450 car parking spaces was refused.
Work is expected to begin within six months and once complete will create more than 230 jobs, plus construction roles.
Planning officers, who recommended the HUT bid be approved and the Development Securities plans be refused, said neither of the two sites were ideal and both departed from the county’s development plan, but no town centre locations were suitable.
However they told members that on balance the HUT scheme is considered more acceptable in planning terms.
Speaking of the HTU proposal, Broughton Cllr Billy Mullin said: “I firmly believe this opportunity to open a cinema and restaurants is fully supported by Broughton residents and the wider community. We need to take this opportunity to underpin the sustainability of the shopping park.”
Cllr Derek Butler, who also represents Broughton, also supported the HUT plan saying he believed it was ‘deliverable’. He told the meeting Flintshire residents were currently travelling outside of the county to Ellesmere Port and Wrexham to go to the cinema and that keeping them in the county help would help retailers.
The HUT plans also had support from Broughton and Bretton Community Council.
Speaking after the meeting Colin Gilligan, Broughton Shopping Park manager, said: “This is excellent news after a thorough debate of the issues and I’m clearly delighted at the outcome.”