BRIDGWATER town centre’s new leisure complex complete with a four to six-screen cinema, gym and restaurants should be complete by 2020, according to Sedgemoor District Council’s project managers.

Speaking at Bridgwater Town Council’s Development Forum last week, Doug Bamsey from Sedgemoor District Council told members the list of interested parties been whittled down to three.

Mr Bamsey said a planning application would be submitted in early 2018, with a developer appointed in the summer and work to start by the end of 2018, with expected completion in 2020.

He stressed that while there had been much interest, there were no guarantees at this stage those timescales will be delivered. 

The most likely scheme will involve a four to six-screen cinema, four to six restaurants, retail units and a gym. However, a 10-pin bowling alley is not being considered because it is deemed ‘not commercially viable’.

Mr Bamsey said: “All of the interested developers have demonstrated an understanding of Bridgwater town centre and have proposed schemes which would complement rather than compete against the town centre.”

Sedgemoor District Council’s Stuart Martin then provided an update on plans for the Brewery Field which lies next to the Northgate site, and Celebration Mile, a project to create a pedestrian priority way leading from Bridgwater Train Station to the Docks

Mr Martin said work was currently underway on improving Bridgwater Railway Station, which is due to be completed by 2020, and also that plans to improve Fore Street are in the final stages.

Councillor Tony Heywood questioned what effect this would have on the existing Scott Cinema on Mount Street.

Mr Martin said: “While it cannot be pre-supposed that Scott Cinemas will re-locate, Sedgemoor District Council is in long standing discussions with Scott Cinemas.”

In 2015, supermarket giant Tesco pulled out of a controversial deal to build a new store on the Northgate site following fierce opposition from residents.

Somerset County Council has agreed to sell their interest in the site to Sedgemoor District Council, allowing the authority to pursue a self-financed development of the leisure scheme.

Following the meeting, Cllr Heywood said: “These proposals are much more in line with what Bridgwater needs. I was also pleased to hear they are looking at including a green area on the Brewery Field, it is long overdue and something we do lack in Bridgwater.”

“I was pleased to hear that Scott Cinemas are involved in discussions but I do wonder what will happen to the existing classic building – part of it is already derelict and I hope this will kickstart redevelopment of it.”

The first phase of the new scheme, to create the new Northgate Primary School, was opened in September. It currently has two classes and will eventually have a capacity of 420. A new nursery is due to open on the site in January.

The school was built on a former Victorian Workhouse site and hospital, and Cllr Brian Smedley instigated the creation of interpretation boards so that this history would not be lost. 

The Town Development Forum recommendations will go before Bridgwater Town Council on Thursday, December 7.