Burnley cinema to be turned into discount food store

Proposals to convert the Reel Cinema in Burnley into a discount food store have been approved by councillors despite a row over the proposed main road junction.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 2:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 2:30 pm
Reel Cinema in Manchester Road, Burnley

The film complex is due to move to the town’s new flagship £21m. Pioneer Place development on Curzon Street in spring 2023.

Now Burnley Council’s development control committee has given planning permission for a discount food store in its current building on Hollywood Park.

But the application by Maple Grove Developments, part of the Eric Wright Group which is behind the new leisure and retail complex, to redevelop the site, which includes a Burger King, led to a fierce debate over Lancashire County Council’s proposed new junction onto Manchester Road.

Borough Liberal Democrat group leader Coun. Birtwistle led the opposition to the new road layout.

The scheme involves the partial demolition of the existing building and re-modelling of the car park which also serves The Star public house which will remain.

This month’s committee passed the conversion of the site into a food store by nine votes to seven.

Coun. Birtwistle said: “There was no opposition to the cinema becoming a food store.

“It was about Lancashire County Council’s new junction onto Manchester Road which is insane.

“If it goes ahead it will be a nightmare and cause chaos whether it is traffic light controlled or not.

“It is too close to a major roundabout.”

The approval was granted with 28 conditions.

They include a restriction of opening hours to 7am to 11pm from Mondays to Saturdays (Inclusive of Bank Holidays); and either 10am to 4pm or 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

No tenant for the food store has yet be identified. It is expected to create 40 jobs.

The new cinema in Pioneer Place will have seven screens.

An officers report told councillors: “On balance, the proposed scheme is considered to be well designed, forming a sympathetic yet contemporary form of development within its surroundings.

“The existing car park will serve continue to serve the public house as well as the proposed food store.

“A total of 316 car parking spaces are proposed including eight accessible spaces and nine parent and child spaces.”