New cinema and 1,000 jobs for Leeds shopping hub

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Proposals for a new 12-screen cinema at Leeds’s White Rose Shopping centre – part of a major expansion – would bring up to 1,000 jobs to the south of the city, project bosses say.

The plans, which also include four new restaurants, an extension of the existing Primark and Debenhams stores and a new car park for employees, are expected to be given the green light by planning chiefs next week.

If approved, the development would increase the overall size of the shopping centre by around a third.

However, concerns have been raised by Hammerson, the developers of Leeds city centre’s Victoria Gate project, who say “further development at White Rose will prejudice ability to attract new retailers/operators to Victoria Gate”.

John Lewis, which will run the flagship store at Victoria Gate, has also objected.

However, there has also been major support for the project.

A report to be presented to the City Plans Panel on Thursday says letters of support have indicated that the new cinema is a “much-needed facility and this and additional restaurants are welcomed, as others in Leeds are difficult to access from this area”.

The additional retail capacity will also allow the White Rose Centre to remain “vibrant” adds the report, and will allow Morley town centre to “piggyback” off its success.

Gerald Jennings, portfolio director for Land Securities, which owns and manages the White Rose Shopping Centre, said: “We are pleased that the officers’ report recommends approval and we hope that the plans panel supports their recommendations.

“We have carried out extensive consultation since September 2012 and have been delighted by the overwhelming support that we have received.

“As well as looking forward to the new amenities that would be delivered through the extension of White Rose, the creation of up to 1,000 retail and leisure related jobs and employment for construction workers has been widely welcomed.”