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Swan Walk revamp offers 100 jobs

About 100 jobs will be created if a multi-million pound revamp of Swan Walk at Horsham is approved.

And film fans could be watching the action in a new cinema in three years under proposals designed to keep more shoppers in the town.

Other ideas put forward for a three-storey development at the western end include about four restaurants and a large store.

The unveiling of the scheme brings a possible welcome boost to the town after the recent announcement that about 80 jobs are at risk with the closure of the Beales department store in July.

The Swan Walk development would be around the area currently occupied by Wilkinsons and other stores but has yet to be put before district councillors for approval. The intention is to start work in two years, subject to planning permission from Horsham District Council.

No potential occupiers of the new buildings have been named at this stage, which is a consultation period before a planning application is submitted. No costs have been revealed yet.

Shoppers were given a glimpse of the proposed scheme in an empty shop in the centre when an exhibition was staged last Friday and Saturday.

They would get direct access to the new store on the upper ground floor from the mall, and there would be mezzanine levels for what are described as family friendly restaurants on the ground floor.

The proposed cinema would have about five screens, similar to existing ones at Crawley and proposed screens at Burgess Hill, where a redevelopment of the Martlets shopping centre was recently approved. Offices would be converted to make space for the cinema on the second floor.

Gill Buchanan, Swan Walk centre manager, said about 100 jobs for local people would be created. Research had shown a need and demand for a new cinema. The new development would help claw back income from food and leisure that was currently being spent outside Horsham. Gill said: “We anticipate, subject to the approval of the planning application, that construction will commence on site in April 2018 and that the new development of restaurants, retail and the cinema will open on October 2019.

“These are exciting times for both Swan Walk and the town centre as a whole and we are delighted to be able to showcase our plans to our loyal and valued tenants and customers during the public consultation.”

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