A £12MILLION scheme to build a cinema in Yate will be decided by planners today.
Yate Shopping Centre owners Crestbridge Corporate Trustees are bidding for permission to open a six-screen cinema and new shops and restaurants on land next to the centre’s overflow car park on Link Road.
The plans have won widespread backing from residents, Yate Town Council and Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb following years of campaigning for a cinema in the town.
But South Gloucestershire Council’s planning department has reservations over the proposal with objections from authority experts over the lack of high quality materials, the demolition of a 19th century farmhouse, The Firs, and a Victorian cottage which are both listed buildings, overdevelopment of the current green land with no plans for replacement planting and the loss of woodland and potential impact on the ecology of the River Frome.
Highways engineers are also concerned at ‘severe’ traffic congestion arguing by 2018, the development would generate an extra 2,733 two-way movements on Saturdays.
The council has calculated the new cinema would need 720 parking spaces to comply with its policies. With 290 current spaces on the overflow car park and a planned 86 extra spaces, the 376 total proposed by Crestbridge is still well below the requirement.
However, planning officer Brian Glasson said the development had ‘almost overwhelming’ support from the local community.
“It has been an aspiration of the community and the town council for a cinema to be developed in Yate for many years,” he said.
“The strength of support can be seen from the number of letters of support received including a petition.”
He said approving the scheme would help secure the future of Yate Shopping Centre and the creation of a 250 new jobs and 150 during construction.
“The site is at the heart of Yate and Chipping Sodbury and if approved, has the potential to generate significant additional investment to the town retaining money in the centre rather than losing it to other out of town cinemas and retail units,” said Mr Glasson.
“Whilst Yate town centre is prosperous, there is a very real risk of decline with business being lost to other larger centres.
“By approving the development, the status of Yate would be increased amongst surrounding retail and entertainment areas which can only but have a very positive impact on the local economy.”
Recommending the scheme for approval subject to Crestbridge paying £10,000 for new traffic orders, £12,000 for mobility access, £90,000 for signs telling motorists how many spaces are free in all of Yate’s car parks and providing a new zebra crossing on Station Road and a footbridge, Mr Glasson said he had placed the greatest weight on the positive benefits of the development.
A spokesman for Crestbridge said: “Inevitably, there will be some negative impacts but taken in the balance with the positives, the development is greatly beneficial to the town and the community.”
The plans will be decided at a meeting of the council’s development control (east) committee today (3pm) at Kingswood Civic Centre.