Plans to turn Wakefield’s market hall into a cinema complex with restaurants have been drawn up by developers.
Sovereign Centros and the owners of Trinity Walk Shopping Centre have this week submitted the proposals to Wakefield Council for consideration.
The development would include a nine-screen cinema, to be operated by The Light, eight restaurants and cafes and a newly-landscaped public space leading from the city’s bus station.
Max La Frenais, director of Sovereign Centros, said: “Our plans will deliver an exciting new leisure destination on the site of the Market Hall.
“Our research shows that the mix of uses will bring new spending into the city centre that will benefit new and existing retail and restaurant businesses.
“The research also shows that there is capacity for a second cinema in the city centre.
“We are delighted to have now submitted the application to the council and, subject to them granting planning permission, we hope to start construction of Trinity Walk Leisure as soon as possible.
‘It is clearly essential that a vibrant use is found for this important site at the gateway to Wakefield city centre as quickly as possible and we believe that Trinity Walk Leisure will deliver just that.”
The £3m market hall would be sold off to make way for the new leisure complex, after a deal was agreed in principle by the council and developers last year.
The local authority said the indoor market, which opened in 2008, has struggled “despite significant efforts and initiatives to encourage shoppers”.
Talks to close the building and redevelop the site have been in progress since 2014.
Coun Denise Jeffery, the council’s cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said: “I welcome the submission of a planning application for this new development as a new cinema and restaurant would be excellent additions to the city centre.
“It is very positive that Sovereign Centros and the owners of the Trinity Walk Shopping Centre want to invest in the city.
“Feedback from a consultation with residents has told us that this type of development would bring more people into the city centre, particularly in the evening.
“We believe it will also boost the daytime economy, and bring more jobs and investment into the district.”
The council said it was working to relocate indoor market traders to shop units in the city centre or the outdoor market, which moved to the Cathedral precinct in November.
But while some have moved out, others told the Express last month that they had not yet received the legally-required six month notice to quit and were expecting to remain in the building until after the Summer.