Cinema, shops and bars could make a Beeston a 'West Bridgford-plus'

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

Beeston could become a “West Bridgford-plus” when its town centre is given an overhaul, says a council leader.

Councillor Richard Jackson, leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, believes a £30m plan to redevelop the town square and build a cinema, bars, restaurants and cafés alongside 100 homes will help revive the town.

He even thinks the addition of the cinema – expected to be six or seven screens – could help usurp the Rushcliffe town across the River Trent as the destination of choice to visit and live outside the city.

This week, the council progressed plans for the scheme, which could be completed by 2020.

Mr Jackson said: “It will make it a destination for the evening economy, with a good quality offer.

“We’re conscious that local people are travelling into Nottingham for an evening and would prefer to stay in Beeston if we have the right offer for them.

West Bridgford is somewhere that we’re looking to emulate. It would be a West Bridgford-plus if it had the cinema to offer everyone so we can keep people in Beeston.”

The plan follows a public consultation about the square’s future, in which Beeston residents called for more nightlife and an open “piazza” space.

The council wants to redevelop the south side of the new tram interchange, between Station Road and Middle Street, as part of “phase two” of the area’s regeneration.

A fire station used to be based on the 1970s site, which now includes a car park but is mainly derelict.

Aerial view of Beeston Square

This is where the housing development would likely be based and the council intends to sell a proportion of the land to a developer.

The cinema, bars, cafés and restaurants would be located nearer the main square, in the area where B&M Bargains is based.

Are you looking for a job in Nottingham? Check out our jobs listings here.

In the latest step forward for the project, the council’s policy and performance committee decided to start work on creating more detailed proposals, with a planning application expected to be lodged in spring.

If planning permission is granted, work could start in 2019 and be completed the following year.

Mr Jackson said the council is also in the process of finalising an agreement with a cinema operator.

“By having a cinema, we’ll get a better quality of bars and restaurants,” he said.

“The operator we’re talking to is relatively new and a bit different to normal.

“We don’t want to compete with a large multiplex. It will have a better quality with more comfort, food and a live arts offer as well – something a bit more suitable to Beeston.”

Residents and businesses have broadly welcomed the plans.

Robyn Bowbanks, who lives in Wollaton and works at a pregnancy care centre in Bramcote, said: “I have a three-year-old and struggle to get out to the cinema so one here would be useful.”

Roy Archer, 28, who owns the Greenhood Coffee House, in High Road, said: “It would be nice to see them give spaces to independent shops and help them out.

“The problem is that you need big chains to bring people in so it might be difficult for the smaller, more independent shops to gain from it.

“It should in theory bring in more people, which will be a good thing.”

Kim Burge, 47, of Rudyards Tea House, in High Road, said: “It's hard enough to bring people down to this end as it is.

"It really does depend on what shops they put there, we definitely don't need any more cafes or charity shops.

“If it's being compared to West Bridgford then I’m not interested in it.”

Anna Smith, 45, of Imperial Road in Beeston, added: “When my daughter is older we might use the cinema, but what I want is a swimming pool – the closest one is Bramcote.

“Especially after the tragedy of Owen Jenkins [the 12-year-old who died at Beeston Weir after going into the river to rescue two girls].”