Preston’s Fishergate Shopping Centre unveils £25m revitalisation vision

10 September 2015

An ambitious £25 million revitalisation programme for Preston’s Fishergate Shopping Centre has been unveiled by owners Benson Elliot.

One of the largest private sector investments in the city centre for more than two decades will create over 250 new long-term jobs.

The redundant TJ Hughes store in the centre will be replaced with six modern shop units, a new mall linking to a feature entrance from the car park and a family-oriented leisure offer of five restaurants and a fully integrated compact cinema.

A planning application is about to be submitted to Preston City Council and a public consultation exercise will be launched tomorrow (Fri).

The proposed development also includes striking new double height retail facades at the rear of the centre to create a much more welcoming and inviting point of arrival.

As well as the long-term jobs, more than 150 construction workers will be employed during the development and building phase.

It is the latest in a line of large-scale investment announcements for the city centre over recent months.

The comprehensive package drawn up introduces new floor space and fresh uses at the centre. Its owners say it will deliver a customer and visitor experience “comparable to other ambitious cities in the UK”.

The development is being supported by leading UK cinema operator Vue Entertainment.

Peter Cornforth, director of retail at Benson Elliot, said the 21st century had seen a rise in the public’s expectations of retail and leisure. He said: “Consumer expectations have shifted considerably and now it’s time to catch up and equip Fishergate to serve Preston’s community as they would expect it to.

“In this fast-moving internet-enabled world where shopping and leisure are fusing into a seamless activity, our plans enable a positive response to the challenges and offer the major brands at Fishergate and beyond the opportunity to plan for the future.”

He added: “Customers everywhere now expect great quality stores and brands, decent places to meet and enjoy something to eat or just relax and chat over a coffee, or spend the afternoon with the kids catching a movie.

“As a well-funded private sector investor, we are able to deliver this project without any recourse to the public purse and begin work as soon as planning permission is granted.”

Keith Mitchell, manager of the Fishergate Shopping Centre, added: “It’s important we provide our shoppers with places to eat, drink and relax to meet friends and family as part of their shopping trip, to enhance their overall social experience and present them with an engaging alternative to the convenience of internet shopping.

“We want to encourage people to spend and enjoy more time in the centre and the city.

“Reinforcing the city’s vitality and viability is crucial and building its early evening and mid-market leisure economy is a key part of that.”

Geoff Moore, property director at Vue Entertainment, said: “Vue has operated a cinema in Preston since the acquisition of the Warner Village circuit in 2003.

“We’re delighted to support this exciting new leisure and restaurant development at the very successful Fishergate Centre, providing our customers with a world class, state-of-the-art modern cinematic experience to replace our ageing cinema at the Capitol Centre.

“Siting our brand alongside the likes of Debenhams, Primark, TK Maxx and a clutch of new family restaurants and retail stores will enhance the customer offer and create more business and jobs within the city centre.” 

Mr Cornforth added: “The city centre is re-emerging with lots of great initiatives and ideas. We’re very excited about Winckley Square and the railway station’s new cycle hub.

 “With neighbours either side improving their user experience it gives us all the chance for some joined-up thinking to deliver a real improvement for the wider Preston community. Vibrant, interesting, fun, accessible – a city centre Prestonians can be proud of.”

Details of the proposed development will go on show at the centre tomorrow (Friday) and they can also be seen by visiting

Members of the public and other interested parties can give their feedback on the plans directly at the public exhibition or by emailing [email protected]

The Fishergate Centre was acquired by leading independent private equity real estate fund manager Benson Elliot in August 2013.

 Benson Elliot, which was founded in 2005, has invested heavily in retail centres in towns and cities across the UK.

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