It's lights, camera, action for a second cinema for Trowbridge, with the demolition of the former Bowyers factory site expected to start soon.
The Planning Inspectorate has given permission for developer Prorsus to build an eight-screen Cineworld, a Morrisons supermarket, six restaurants and a pub on the derelict Bowyers land as part of a £46m scheme known as Innox Riverside.
The developer is currently seeking contractors to carry out the project and demolition is expected to start on the existing buildings in the coming weeks, with the whole scheme creating around 400 jobs. No completion date for the project has been set and Prorsus say plans will be outlined next month.
Angus Horner, Prorsus managing director, said: “We’ll be doing all we can to get Innox Riverside up and running as fast as we can, but I can’t give a date when it’ll open at this stage as formal discussions need to take place.”
Planning inspector David Nicholson released a report on Monday overturning Wilt-shire Council’s rejection of Prorsus’ proposals in June 2012. This followed a three-day planning appeal at Trow-bridge Civic Centre earlier this month.
Mr Horner said: “I massively care about this project, but it’s the people of Trowbridge who deserve the pat on the back and should be pictured on the front page as their commitment has been unbelievable.”
When Wiltshire Council rejected the Bowyers plans around 400 supporters of the regeneration marched through Trowbridge, from the site to County Hall, in protest.
A Facebook group in support of Prorsus’ plans was set up and members of the public also gave their backing to the proposals during a three-day planning appeal.
Campaigner Rebecca Millard, a Trowbridge resident, said: “This is absolutely amazing news, I’m over the moon and I think it is brilliant that the planning inspector understood how strong the public support was.”
In February 2013, Prorsus saw plans for a ‘reserve’ application – which replaced the cinema with an unspecified leisure facility and added a petrol station – accepted by Wiltshire Council.
As part of this permission, the developer had already started working on the Bowyers site while awaiting the outcome of the appeal into their preferred scheme.
Wiltshire and Trowbridge Town Councillor John Knight said: “Prorsus’ legal team were brilliant, but the members of the public who came down to every meeting deserve a pat on the back as they must have had an influence on the inspector.
“This is a victory for people power.”
The new Cineworld will be competition to the Odeon which opened in November as part of the £17m St Stephens Place development.