The battle to build a second new cinema in Trowbridge has been won after the Planning Inspectorate announced today it has approved proposals to build a multiplex on the former Bowyers factory.
Planning inspector David Nicholson has overturned Wiltshire Council’s decision, made in June 2012, to reject plans for an eight-screen Cineworld, a Morrisons store, six restaurants and a pub to be built on the derelict site – in a project worth £46m.
At the start of January, a three-day hearing took place at Trowbridge Civic Centre with developer Prorsus arguing the case for allowing the project to go ahead.
Wiltshire Council and Legal & General, which opened the £17m St Stephens Place Leisure Park in November, made submissions to Mr Nicholson to reject the appeal.
Both believe that the Bowyers plans would have a detrimental effect on the seven-screen Odeon cinema, which opened in October at St Stephens Place, potentially forcing it to close.
When Wiltshire Council rejected plans for the Bowyers scheme, in 2012, around 400 supporters of the Bowers regeneration scheme marched through Trowbridge, from the site to County Hall, in protest at the decision.
In February 2013, Prorsus saw plans for a ‘reserve’ application – which substituted the cinema for an unspecified leisure facility and added a petrol station – accepted by Wiltshire Council. The developer then continued fighting its appeal into the original plans.