A planning appeal into the future of the former Bowyers site is beginning at Trowbridge Civic Centre at 10am today.

Developer Prorsus is appealing against Wiltshire Council’s decision, in June 2012, to reject plans for a Cineworld multiplex, Morrisons, six restaurants and a pub to be built on the derelict site.

The Planning Inspectorate will be overseeing the hearing which is expected to last up to four days.

In February 2013, Prorsus saw plans for a ‘reserve’ application – which substituted the eight-screen cinema for an unspecified leisure facility and added a petrol station – accepted by the council.

Despite this, the company has decided to pursue its initial £46m redevelopment plans.

Angus Horner, Prorsus’ managing director, said: “The cinema is the sole sticking point between us and the council; we hope the inspector shares the views of the majority of Trowbridge residents and supports us.”

After the cinema plan was rejected, around 400 residents staged a protest march against Wiltshire Council’s decision, from Bowyers to County Hall.

If the Planning Inspectorate overturns the council’s decision Trowbridge will home two cinemas after a seven-screen Odeon opened at the £17m St Stephen’s Place Leisure Park in November.

Wiltshire and Trowbridge Town Councillor Graham Payne said: “I very much hope that the inspector will see the benefits of the scheme and overturn the decision as it will bring jobs and an economic boost to Trowbridge.”