CAMPAIGNERS for a cinema in Yate are celebrating this week after news that £12million is to be invested in a new leisure quarter was announced.

Yate Shopping Centre owners Dominion Corporate Trustees (DCT) has revealed it wants to create a nighttime economy in the town and is putting up the cash to fund a six-screen cinema complex, six restaurants and three shops.

The company aims to have the development built on the overflow car park, on Link Road, but says no car parking spaces will be lost as it will utilise disused land at the back of the car park.

Mark Hull, DCT’s group property controller, said: “We have always been aware of the strong feelings to see a cinema in Yate. When we first consulted the public seven years ago, shortly after buying the centre on the proposals for a new Tesco store and additional retail units in East Walk, the things that topped the public’s wish list then was a new cinema and more high street retail names.

“We have so far secured Marks & Spencer Simply Foods, Sports Direct and Costa Coffee for East Walk, along with strong interest from a national fashion retailer on the final unit, and are now doing our best to deliver a cinema.”

He added: “Our aim is to create a nightlife venue for Yate that will rival other nearby centres and save people having to drive out of the town for their entertainment.

“We are proposing a six-screen cinema, six restaurants and food outlets of various sizes, and three new retail outlets.

“It is a combination that will make the project viable and is attractive to the market.”

He said the shopping centre has already had operators interested in taking the majority of the space in the development and a consultation process has been launched, with a public display to follow shortly.

Mr Hull added: “This latest project will bring our total spend in Yate to over £40 million in the last three years and we are committed to ensuring that Yate Shopping Centre is a 21st Century facility that serves the locality and plays a major role in keeping people in the town.

“This kind of investment is just unheard of during times of recession, but we believe in the longevity of the shopping centre and town as a whole.”

The news has been warmly welcomed by Yate and Thornbury MP Steve Webb, who has led campaign group Cinema4Yate since 2005.

“People were concerned it would only be a small, one-screen facility so to get a multi-screen is fantastic,” he said.

“I have been involved in this project for eight years now and of all the surveys I do, this keeps coming up. There is strong local demand for it.”

Yate mayor Councillor Martin Monk, said: “This is great news for Yate.

“I am pleased to see that consultation is starting on plans that could deliver several of the town’s Community Plan issues. It’s also good that a major business like DCT has kept its promise and proposes investing over £12 million in our town centre. I await the plans with interest.”

The leisure complex would result in an increase in parking provision with a total of 360 car parking spaces in the overflow car park and is expected to create over 150 further jobs and an additional 100 during the construction phase.

But the project has been met with some apprehension from wildlife conservationists who believe rare crested newts inhabit the site.

On Facebook, Liz Jones wrote: “It will be on one of the last remaining wild spaces in Yate, home to a multitude of wildlife.”

Victoria Crew: “I don’t think we need any more restaurants in Yate. It will affect local business most likely pub owners already struggling in this economy.”

But Jemma Yates: “It’s what Yate needs to keep the locals here and will create a lot of jobs.”