Frenchgate cinema proposals rejected

Doncaster's Frenchgate centre - are such developments responsible for the litter that blights out-of-town areas where there are empty shops?
Doncaster's Frenchgate centre - are such developments responsible for the litter that blights out-of-town areas where there are empty shops?

Plans to open a cinema and restaurant at the Frenchgate Centre have been thrown out - because they would spoil the setting of Doncaster station and the Grand Theatre.

Officials at Doncaster Council rejected the scheme in September 2015 because its scale would have been overbearing on the two grade two listed buildings.

And now an appeal to Government inspectors by the shopping centre has also been turned down.

The £15 million scheme would have created an estimated 200 jobs according the Frenchgate Centre bosses, including 44 full time posts, and had been changed from the originoal design to make it lower than first proposed.

Government inspector Jon Hockley described the location as very sustainable.

But the scheme was still rejected. Mr Hockley said: “I conclude that the proposal would fail to preserve the setting, and therefore the significance of the Grade II listed Station booking hall and offices and Grand Theatre and the character and appearance of the area.”

“I do not consider that the public benefits of the proposal would outweigh the clear harm caused in either scheme. Harm would also be caused to the character and appearance of the area.

No comment was available from the Frenchgate Centre over the decision.

MargaretHerbert, chairman of the Friends of the Doncaster Grand Theatre, welcomed the decision to turn the plan down, describing as a carbuncle.

She said: “It would have been an eyesore in a prominent location.”

But some social media users have been surprised by the decision.

Alan Sims said on Facebook: “How could it spoil the station? Maybe the developers will have a rethink and incorporate the Grand into the plans. Now that would be good for Doncaster.

Silas Goodison said: “Spoil the setting of the grand? That unused relic of a building has become an eyesore.”

Michelle Morris said: “We need more stuff in the town centre,surely the more we have available it will be better for commerce in the town. Progress stopped again by little people sat in offices.”

Andrea Brennan said: “Absolute joke. The grand theatre has been boarded up for years so couldn’t be anymore of an eyesore. How about building it into the plans?”