A second cinema could still be coming to Trowbridge, after a reserve proposal for a Morrison’s store at the former Bowyers site was given the go-ahead.

Wiltshire councillors voted 10 to one in favour of the £46 million plan, submitted by developer Prorsus, on Wednesday night.

The plan includes a supermarket, a petrol station, a leisure area, two non-food shops, a pub, two restaurants and two cafes to be built on the derelict site. It still needs ratifying by the Secretary of State.

The development could be completed in 18 months.

The application was considered to be a reserve plan by Prorsus after it had a similar proposal, including a Cineworld multiplex, rejected last year.

The developer appealed against that decision but agreed to defer the hearing while Wiltshire Council considered its back-up plan, which does not have a cinema.
After the meeting Angus Horner, managing director of Prorsus, said the cinema plan could be revived.

He said: “We have been asked, along with Wiltshire Council, to update the planning inspector on the status of the appeal in late February.

“In light of the council’s decision, we are considering our options on how we can secure the best future for the Bowyers site.”

Mr Horner thanked residents who campaigned for a regeneration of the Bowyers site and organised a rally in the town last year, attended by over 400 people, after the application was rejected.

Campaigner Rebecca Millard said: “I’m really pleased this application has been passed but it is a shame we haven’t got the Cineworld. I don’t know what Angus’ plans are for that but I’m expecting to speak to him in the next few days.”

As part of the accepted plans, it is thought a gym could occupy the leisure area. Mrs Millard and her team said they would prefer to see a bowling alley, ice rink or family swimming pool.

The development will bring more than 350 new jobs to the town. Trowbridge Town and Wiltshire Councillor Graham Payne said: “I’m really pleased that so early in the new year we have some good news for Trowbridge providing new economic and leisure opportunities.”

Legal & General is already well under way with an Odeon cinema, an 80-room Premier Inn hoteland a range of restaurants, cafes and bars at St Stephen’s Place. It refused to comment on the Prorsus permission.