New deal clears way for £30m city centre cinema and shopping complex

An impression of how the area could look
An impression of how the area could look

A deal has been struck to pave the way for a massive £30 million cinema and shopping complex on the edge of Perth city centre.

Council chiefs have finalised negotiations over land at Thimblerow, which is earmarked for the highly anticipated Mill Quarter development.

The project aims to deliver a radical boost to Perth’s flagging nightlife and could bring an extra 300,000 people into the city each year.

An application for planning permission is now being prepared by developers Expresso Property and is likely to be submitted in the coming weeks.

The company has released a new image of how the building could look.

The new deal, which was confirmed during a private meeting of the strategic policy and resources committee, will also see the council take control of the site’s new 201-space multi-storey car park.

However, the project has triggered worries about Perth’s existing Playhouse cinema.

Residents took to social media to raise concerns about the possible impact on the city centre multi-screen.

A council spokeswoman said: “We believe there is enough demand for both (cinemas) as we’ve noticed people from this area are travelling to Dundee, Stirling and elsewhere to go to the pictures.

“This new cinema will be aimed at targeting these people, to persuade them to stay in Perth.

“The car park will be replacing the spaces that are already there and will be able to accommodate people using the new facilities.”

Kris Miller, Courier, 15/12/15. Picture today at Mercure Hotel, Perth where a consultation of £40 million Thimblerow cinema/shops/student accommodation was taking place. Pic shows plans and people looking at/discussing the plans to regenerate the area.

She added that councillors welcomed an update on progress of the development, which was first announced last year.

“The site, which is being developed by Expresso Property and will be known as the Mill Quarter, will establish a mix of restaurants, speciality shops, a multi-screen cinema, housing and a multi-storey car park,” the spokeswoman said.

The council confirmed that Expresso are “now close to finalising a detailed planning application”.

“Committee members have also backed proposals for the council to lease and manage the 201-space multi-storey car park within the site,” the council’s spokeswoman added.

“In line with recent renovations to South Inch and Canal Street car parks, the new 201-space Mill Quarter car park will follow the pay-on-exit model.”

A spokesman for Expresso Property said: “We are delighted that our scheme at the Mill Quarter has now got the go ahead from Perth and Kinross Council and with their support, we look forward to pushing forward as soon as possible.

“Providing a major new leisure facility for the city, comprising a state of the art cinema with restaurants, over 200 parking spaces and 58 apartments, we hope to be in the position to submit a planning application during the next few months, targeting a scheme opening late spring 2019.”

Expresso has said it has already received inquiries from several big-name traders about setting up at Thimblerow.