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Fri 24th Mar 2023 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Hollywood Bowl looking to add up to ten more Puttstars, would consider standalone sites only in ‘five-star locations’: Chief financial officer Laurence Keen has told Propel that Hollywood Bowl would look to add up to ten more Puttstars, but will only consider standalone sites for its mini-golf concept in “five-star locations”. Puttstars was launched by the UK’s largest ten-pin bowling operator in 2020, introducing it in Leeds before rolling out to four further locations – the most recent being in Peterborough last November. It initially eyed a 30-venue footprint for the concept, but Keen said “pound-per-square-foot” takings mean focusing on bowling alleys makes more economical sense. “Puttstars was created as we were being offered fantastic spaces that we couldn’t always get bowling into,” Keen said. “We’ve been very fortunate that the pipeline we have going forwards will fit bowling into all of them, which will always make more money on a pound-per-square-foot basis, because a bowling centre will have 18-plus lanes on average, and Puttstars could only utilise the equivalent of 12 lanes. If we can’t get a Hollywood Bowl in the space, we are open to standalone Puttstars, but they need to be five-star locations. A bowling centre could be in a four-star location that doesn’t necessarily have a huge amount of footfall during the week but can fill 28 lanes on a peak days. We’re finding inflation on capital costs is probably the biggest inflation of them all, and when you have a unit like a Puttstars, its return on investment (ROI) is about 19%, and as the denominator in terms of capex increases, it’s not like a Hollywood Bowl where you can just take more on the lanes at weekends, you can’t take any more in a Puttstars because you’re full. So, you’re starting to look at ROIs hovering around 15%, and you can get a better return spending it in Canada or on other things such as solar panels.” As well as opening a new joint Hollywood Bowl/Puttstars site in Colchester this summer, the company is looking to add Puttstars courses to two existing bowling alleys, one of which is in Leeds. “We may have two or three others (adding Puttstars to existing bowling sites), but we may have opportunities if we can punch through and take excess space in other units,” Keen said. “In some centres that may be an opportunity for more lanes, in others it may open up one for something like a Puttstars. If it’s worth it and the demographics are right, and it makes sense on a pound-per-square-foot basis, we would look at bigger sites. We did look at putting a Puttstars into Merry Hill, but our demographic study suggested the demand for bowling was in excess of 24 lanes, so we put in some extra bowling lanes instead.”

Industry News:

Sponsored message – DAZN offers operators the opportunity to broadcast Anthony Joshua fight: DAZN is the exclusive rights holder for the Anthony Joshua versus Jermaine Franklin boxing fight on Saturday, 1 April. “We are excited to be offering the opportunity to broadcast this fight in pubs, hotels, casinos and other commercial premises across the land”, said Peter Parmenter, European vice-president DAZN Group. “Anthony Joshua is the biggest name in UK boxing, and he will face former Dillian Whyte foe, Jermaine Franklin, in an epic showdown live from the O2 Arena in London.” This pay-per-view event will only be available through DAZN on your Sky box channel 429. The atmosphere in pubs, hotels, casinos and other commercial premises across the land paired with DAZN’s best-in-class production ensures a night of toe-to-toe action not to be missed. The pay-per-view fight is available to order by phone only through DAZN on 0333 030 8000 at an early bird price of £245 excluding VAT, which ends on Monday (27 March). Multiple operators with ten or more venues wanting to show the fight should email For more information, click here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email

One week to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, 23 businesses being added: A total of 23 new multi-site companies, operating 95 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 31 March, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes regional restaurant operators, growing bakery brands, and expanding hotel operators. Premium subscribers will also receive a 2,000-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. The database now features 2,769 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database on Thursday, 6 April, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 6,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; and the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

BII urges Ofgem to intervene over unfair energy contracts to avoid ‘crippling fragile pub businesses’: The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has written an open letter to energy regulator Ofgem, demanding urgent action to tackle energy suppliers “who are crippling fragile pub businesses across the whole of the UK”. Earlier this year, a survey of BII members revealed 50% were forced into signing contracts at the peak of energy prices between July and December 2022. With meaningful energy support from government falling away for the vast majority of pubs from the end of the month, they are now facing a cliff edge of energy costs, alongside the surge in inflationary pressures in every area of their businesses, the BII warned. Without the ability to renegotiate contracts with suppliers that were “signed in an unfair and uncompetitive market”, many are facing bankruptcy, the trade body said. Adrianne Mead, licensee of the Royal Oak in Isleworth, is facing energy bills of more than £100,000 a year after being forced to take a 12-month contract in September 2022. Meade said: “If we were to get a contract with our supplier now as a new customer, we would only be paying £3,000 a month. These huge costs, delivered as part of a contract we had to sign in an unfair and uncompetitive market are now threatening the survival of our business.” BII chief executive Steve Alton said: “Ofgem’s review of the numerous bad supplier practices including failure to pass on the government support, as well as rocketing standing charges, has already taken too long, and any further delays will now result in unnecessary business failures. It must use all of its powers urgently to encourage suppliers to recontract with those businesses who had no option but to sign deals at the peak of energy prices, or face being cut off.”

Welsh licensing scheme needs to level accommodation playing field, says UKHospitality Cymru: UKHospitality Cymru has called for the Welsh government to use a new statutory licensing scheme to create a “level playing field” between established serviced accommodation businesses and the short-term let sector. UKHospitality Cymru executive director David Chapman said: “Our established hotels, inns and guest houses have developed a top-quality reputation for looking after their customers and we want these highest standards to be evident in all other parts of the sector once the new scheme is introduced. Serviced accommodation is a highly regulated sector and it prides itself in its compliance to the highest level with government regulation and the resultant duty of care for our visitors and guests that comes with this.” In its response to the Welsh government’s consultation on a proposed licensing scheme for all accommodation providers, UKHospitality Cymru insisted any new scheme must not provide any further regulation for the hotel sector and recommended any future scheme automatically grants licences for businesses already recorded with the Welsh government and excludes them from any additional inspections.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a leisure business in Leeds that is looking for a people director. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will have the opportunity to impact every employee’s experience and contribute to the delivery of the business vision. Your responsibilities will include setting and driving a people strategy and developing people growth plans that sit perfectly alongside the business growth strategy. Working within the leadership team, you will plan, lead and deliver on people project activity throughout the business. You will position the business as an employer of choice and use innovative approaches to attract and retain the best available talent as well as create a high performance and development culture.” The salary is up to £90,000. For more information, email

Company News:

Italian gelato brand Amorino brings in former Little Dessert Shop franchise chief to lead UK expansion: Italian gelato brand Amorino has brought in the former head of franchise and operations at Little Dessert Shop to lead its UK expansion plans. Amorino is escalating its franchise growth both here and abroad, in partnership with food franchise company Seeds Consulting, and is looking to expand from 20 to 30 UK sites by the end of 2023, and 50 by 2025. It has now appointed Roman Aslamzada as franchise director, who joins after seven years with West Midlands dessert franchise Little Dessert Shop. During his time with the business, which was founded in 2015, Little Dessert Shop has grown to circa 40 stores around the UK. Before coming to the UK, Aslamzada moved “from country to country” with his family, “seeking opportunity” as he lived in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia. While in Pakistan, he organised a football tournament at the age of 12, which turned over 138,000 PKR (£1,380) in the space of two weeks. He said: “Moving to the UK and initially working as a waiter at the Little Dessert Shop, I was quickly promoted to assistant manager and then store manager. Shortly after I was approached by the director with another promotion, that being area manager, and I managed 14 stores. My loyalty and commitment to Little Dessert Shop was recognised, fuelling the promotion to head of franchise and business operations. I am ready to utilise and diversify the skills I have grown over the years to expand Amorino in a unique style, tapping in to new demographics and assisting it to reach new heights.” Amorino, which has more than 200 stores in 18 different countries, including 100 in France, is set to open its next UK store in April, in Windsor. “We hope to echo the successes seen in France by opening more stores in the UK,” the company added. Amorino and Little Dessert Shop both feature in the Propel UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and is available exclusively to Premium subscribers. The database is updated every two months and the latest edition features 185 companies. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription.

C&C Group expects to report full-year net revenue of €1,685m as new technology project impacts service and profitability: C&C Group has said it expects to report net revenue of approximately €1,685m for the year ending 28 February 2023, an increase of 18% on the previous year, with volumes expected to be up 4%. The group added it expects to report an operating profit of €84m compared with €48m the year before. The company stated: “This outcome reflects a number of factors, including the previously noted softer than expected Christmas trading and the impact of the various strikes in the UK. In February, the group commenced a significant technology project in our British operations, a key step in the digital transformation and optimisation of the business. The implementation phase of the project is taking longer than originally envisaged, with some consequent impact on service and profitability, however, encouragingly service levels have largely returned to normal levels. Despite a challenging trading backdrop, we are pleased with the performance of our core brands, Bulmers and Tennent’s, which are both continuing to grow category share. C&C’s balance sheet strength and robust cash generating capabilities are reflected in a significant reduction in net debt to approximately €150m and a leverage multiple of 1.3 times, compared with €271m and 3.4 times at the end of FY2022. Given the strength of the balance sheet and cash flow generation, C&C intends to recommence dividend payments following the announcement of its FY2023 results and will evaluate the potential for further capital returns to shareholders in due course.”

Tomahawk Steakhouse to convert Chester site to Rio Brazilian concept, eyes second site in city: North east operator Howard Eggleston is planning to reopen his Chester steakhouse under a different concept and is also eyeing a second site in the city, Propel has learned. It was reported this week the Tomahawk Steakhouse in Newgate Street had put a notice in its window saying it was closed “for the foreseeable future” just six months after opening. However, it is being converted to its Rio Brazilian Steakhouse format and will reopen under the new branding in May. This type of conversion project is not new to the business, having converted the upper floor of its Tomahawk in Newcastle Quayside into a Rio, which has gone on to become the number one turnover site in the Rio business. “While Chester came with its challenges, we had a fantastic welcome to the city,” Eggleston told Propel. “After listening to customer feedback, we do think the 120-cover site was likely too large for a Tomahawk, which is partly the reason as to why we made the decision to convert to Rio. The Tomahawk team has been to various locations around Chester looking for new sites with around 80 covers, so we hope to have both concepts in the city by the end of the year. Rio Warrington hitting number one on TripAdvisor for the whole of the Cheshire region has given us confidence that this is the right decision at this time.” The group currently operates 12 Tomahawk Steakhouses and five Rio Brazilian sites and is aiming to open four new steakhouses this year, with sites in Sunderland, Harrogate and Morpeth among the pipeline. Morpeth’s Tomahawk is set to open at the end of April, followed by more Rio sites as the business moves to “level it up” with the number of Tomahawk locations. Rio will also be coming to Sheffield soon, followed by a third Newcastle location, at Eldon Square, by the end of the year.

The Wolseley Hospitality Group to open new central London restaurant this autumn: The Wolseley Hospitality Group will open a new central London restaurant this autumn. The Wolseley City will be located in King William Street, and a larger restaurant to its sister The Wolesley, which this year celebrates in 20th anniversary. The new venue will feature two private dining rooms and three bar spaces, while the menu will retain much of the all-day offering at The Wolseley, including schnitzels, soufflé Suisse and steak tartare, calf’s liver and bacon, and coq au vin. There will also be dedicated breakfast and cocktail menus alongside whisky and wine lists and craft beer. The group will also open its seafood restaurant Manzi’s in London’s Soho in May.

Midlands ‘battered chips’ concept to open second site next month: Midlands “battered chips” concept Bek’s will open its second site next month, in Aldridge, Walsall. The third-generation family fish and chip business was opened in Wednesbury in 1989 by owner Bek Halil’s grandfather, who had emigrated from Cyrpus in the 1960s and run several chip shops in the region. Propel revealed last month that the new site, a first franchise location for the business, will be operated by former McDonald’s business manager Dean Haynes, who spent 23 years with McDonald’s, running some of its busiest restaurants as well as working in quality assurance. He joined Bek’s as a director last year. Bek’s is also set to launch a new kebab business. Haill said: “We have set up a doner kebab manufacturing and wholesale arm of our business supplying not only our stores but wholesalers and shops across the country. Our affiliation to doner dates to the 1980s.”

Immersive theatre company looking to take Peaky Blinders experience international and find permanent UK home: Immersive theatre company Immersive Everywhere is looking to take its Peaky Blinders experience international and find a permanent home for it in the UK. Peaky Blinders: The Rise launched at Camden Market’s Vanguard Theatre last summer, since when it has produced more than 250 shows and welcomed in excess of 47,000 guests. The team behind it, Immersive Everywhere, partners with world-famous titles to deliver live theatrical experiences, including Doctor Who: Time Fracture. It is now planning to take the experience overseas and find a long-term home for it here, with the producers in “active discussions in Birmingham” as they seek a 9,000 square-foot venue. The show’s London run will come to an end on Sunday, 28 May. Brian Hook, co-owner of Immersive Everywhere, said: “Peaky Blinders: The Rise has been a huge success in pushing the boundaries of the immersive theatre tradition, allowing guests to play an active role in the storyline and determine the story’s ending. We are thrilled with the achievements of the experience throughout the course of the run and look forward to what's next for the show.”

Chaiiwala opens third Scottish site, Aberdeen launch lined up for third quarter: Street food cafe franchise Chaiiwala has opened its third Scottish site, with an Aberdeen launch also lined up for the third quarter. The chain, which already has sites in Glasgow and Dundee, has opened in a former retail unit at Fort Kinnaird Retail Park in Edinburgh, for its 83rd site overall. Franchisee Usman Riaz, who is also a franchisee with Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins owner Dunkin’ Brands, said: “We have opened our highly anticipated Edinburgh store at the Fort Kinnaird Retail Park. With the retail park having an annual footfall of 14 million, we have high hopes for this store. Our focus now moves to Union Street in Aberdeeen for a third quarter opening. The Chaiiwala Scotland takeover continues.”

200 Degrees to open Chester site in May: Coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees, which is backed by Foresight, will open a site in Chester in May. As previously revealed by Propel, 200 Degrees has acquired the former Patisserie Valerie premises in Bridge Street. The coffee shop – 200 Degrees’ 19th site and third in the north west – will seat about 90 customers and also include a barista school. Stephen Fern, managing director at 200 Degrees, said: “Chester is an incredible city with heritage and culture in abundance. It’s exciting that we’re also bringing one of our barista schools to Chester, which are incredibly popular in the six other cities they’re in.” Founded in 2012 by Rob Darby and Tom Vincent, 200 Degrees has expanded its footprint across the Midlands and north of England. Fern told Propel in January that its growth plans will focus on those areas.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach operator reports first profit in five years as revenue exceeds pre-pandemic levels, sees energy prices double: The parent company of Blackpool Pleasure Beach has reported a return to profit for the first time since 2017 with revenue exceeding pre-pandemic levels but it warned of challenges ahead with its energy prices having doubled. Turnover increased to £44,648,000 for the year ending 20 March 2022 compared with £18,679,000 the year before, boosted by the reduced rate of VAT and an uninterrupted period of trading after covid restrictions. For the year ending 22 March 2020, when the final few weeks of trading was affected by the pandemic, the business turned over £33,140,000. Blackpool Pleasure Beach (Holdings), which includes the amusement park, Big Blue Hotel and South Shore Mutual Insurance Company, made a pre-tax profit of £10,556,000 compared with a loss of £1,881,000 the year before (2020: loss of £1,430,000). Revenue for Blackpool Pleasure Beach was up 138% on last year to £39.15m and also up 38% on 2020. Profit before tax was £8.6m compared with a loss of £2.9m the previous year. Turnover at the hotel was up to £4.9m from £2.1m the year before. Rooms sold increased by 42% to 31,385 for the year resulting in an overall occupancy of 65%, which is comparable with pre-pandemic levels. Total yield per room was £156 as a result of pricing and reduced VAT. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “We have used the success of this year to reduce our debt levels with a view to making us more sustainable in the future. We continue to adapt our business model and make changes to the way that we operate in order to make us more sustainable and cost effective. The current economic forecast shows that times ahead are going to be difficult. Utility prices have doubled since the year end and the company is committed to reducing its energy usage.” The company received £390,000 from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (2021: £4,361,000). No dividend was paid (2021: nil).

Former Gordon Ramsay alumni lines up Sunderland Asian-inspired restaurant: Former Gordon Ramsay alumni Tamer Hassan has lined up an Asian-inspired restaurant in Sunderland. Hassan, who won series one of Ramsay’s The F Word programme, has also worked alongside Ramsay, along with the likes of Mark Sargent and Angela Harnett, at venues such as Le Corden Bleu and Claridges. Currently head chef at Gino D’Acampo’s restaurant in Newcastle, Hassan is set to open Hidden Lotus in the former Cart Shed building at the Sheepfolds leisure and events venue. The restaurant will serve small and large plates alongside sushi and Asian-inspired cocktails. “When you step into the place, there’s just a magic to it, and the vision for the venue is absolutely fantastic,” Hassan said. “There’s such a clear focus on quality, on delivering a place that raises the bar and provides an amazing dining experience.” The Sheepfolds development, which will bring back into use some grade II-listed former stables, was granted planning permission in May and will house eight individual operators. Zinc, a 50-seater restaurant from the team behind Newcastle’s Michelin Bib Gourmand bistro Route, has already been confirmed as the first occupier. Hairy Bikers TV chef Si King has also confirmed plans to move into the development, along with concept coffee shop Resinn and whisky lounge Spey Snug.

Yorkshire dessert bar brand to branch into wholesale: Yorkshire dessert bar operator Rassam’s Creamery is branching into a wholesale operation. Launched in Sheffield in 2012 by Rassam Ali, Rassam’s has since grown to nine sites. In January, it opened its first site outside of Yorkshire, in Nottingham’s £50m Beeston Square development. “I have spent the last ten years in the desserts industry – now it’s time for a bigger challenge,” Ali said. “DWS – Desserts Wholesaler Supplies – is my new venture and I’m confident it’ll be as successful as the Rassam’s Creamery businesses. Over the years I’ve worked tirelessly to grow Rassam’s Creamery to be as successful as it is now, and with that being said, it’s definitely growing and heading in the right direction. Desserts is something I love, but I love new ideas more, hence why I thought about opening a bakery and desserts ingredients wholesalers that will be dealing with more than 30 companies. We’ll be supplying ice cream ingredients, toppings, sauces, soft drinks and personalised packaging to cater to everyone’s needs.” The new business will go live on Friday, 7 April.

Danieli Group gets green light for Stack site in Bishop Auckland: North east operator Danieli Group has received planning permission for its latest Stack container leisure venue concept. Durham County Council has given the go-ahead for the scheme, which will be located in Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland. While the Stacks in Sunderland and Newcastle were created out of shipping containers, the Bishop Auckland will be a purpose-built building, “but will have all of the signature elements internally that the concept has become renowned for”. Danieli Group chief executive Neill Winch said: “Stack has been a huge success story wherever we have opened and we are looking forward to creating that same excitement – and level of prosperity – in Bishop Auckland. Stack Bishop Auckland will not only create jobs but will help the town in so many different ways, from providing an outlet for local food traders to being a place that both locals and visitors can enjoy.” Work should begin immediately with a view to opening in spring 2024. Earlier this week, Danieli Group reported record profits for Stack for the year ending April 2022, as it looks to grow the concept to 11 sites within five years. Stack saw sales of £14.6m and Ebitda of £4.67m combined for its Newcastle and Sunderland venues for the period. It is also looking to open sites in Durham, Carlisle and Lincoln, as well as a three-year pop-up scheme in Middlesbrough.

The Columbo Group opens new Kentish Town site: The Columbo Group, led by Steve Ball and Riz Shaikh, has opened its new site in Kentish Town, north London. Propel revealed in October that the group had acquired the freehold of The Oxford Tavern, bringing its estate to ten venues, seven of which are freeholds. It has now reopened as The Parakeet, a 60-cover culinary-led pub and dining room offering a menu of locally sourced, seasonal dishes. The kitchen is led by ex-Brat chef Ben Allen and sous-chef Ed Jennings, with dishes influenced by Allen’s experience at Brat and the two-Michelin star Steirereck in Austria. Main dishes include lamb chop and artichoke; beef rump, braised turnips and nettles; trout, sea herbs and butter sauce; and wood roasted rabbit, kohlrabi and curry leaf. Allen said: “Our opening seasonal menu at The Parakeet is informed by a European style of cooking with lots of vegetables, light, clean flavours balanced with fatty and rich proteins and using high quality ingredients from local and sustainable suppliers. This, with the combination of cooking over fire, creates a unique dining experience that doesn’t overcomplicate great tasting food.”

Family-run Northern Ireland eco-hotel to open new £1.2m restaurant: Family-run Northern Ireland eco-hotel The Salthouse is set to open a new £1.2m restaurant. The Lookout will serve a predominantly European menu and offer both indoor and outdoor seating, and also house a bakery. Fitting in with The Salthouse's sustainable ethos, every ingredient used will be sourced locally where possible or grown on-site. Its launch will bring the Ballycastle hotel’s restaurant offering to two, with it eponymously named existing venue serving seafood dishes and classic mains in a more formal setting, reports Insider Media. The decision to extend the existing offering, which includes a 24-bed hotel, six eco lodges and a spa, was driven by a surge in demand, according to director Carl McGarrity. He said: “When we launched The Salthouse we knew we were filling a void in the hospitality scene, and the subsequent demand from our customers is behind our expansion, including the addition of the new restaurant. The Lookout will offer a relaxed dining alternative that will complement our existing à la carte venue and offer our guests the sustainable experience that comes hand in hand with being part of The Salthouse culture.” A joint venture between Nigel McGarrity and a local property developer, The Salthouse opened in 2019 and is run by Nigel, his wife Joann and their children, Carl and Emma. A self-sufficient business, its on-site wind turbine and solar powers the hotel and eco lodges, while the water it uses is from its very own borehole.

Bristol gin producer to open south coast restaurant and bar: Bristol gin producer William Phillips is to open a south coast restaurant and bar. Phillips, who owns Clouded Leopard Gin, will launch The Priory in the former Splinters Restaurant site in Church Street, Christchurch. It will offer “interesting cocktails” and modern British food. “Downstairs, it will be a cafe and bar, and upstairs will be a restaurant and cocktail bar,” Phillips told the Dorset Echo. “We’re aiming for a nice and relaxed bar in the day, but in the evening we’ll dim the lights, and it will become more of a cocktail bar. The bar will be the shop front for the gin.”

New North Yorkshire multimillion-pound leisure development with cinema as anchor gets go-ahead: The proposed multimillion-pound redevelopment of a North Yorkshire shopping centre to create a new cinema has been given the go-ahead. Scarborough Borough Council’s planning and development committee has granted planning permission for Scarborough Group International (SGI) to transform the centre into a leisure-led destination, anchored by a multi-screen cinema. The proposals, submitted by SGI earlier this year, also include new food and drink outlets. Mark Jackson, group development director at SGI, said: “In addition to providing a vibrant leisure and entertainment offering, it is hoped our redevelopment of the Brunswick will act as a springboard for wider investment and economic growth in Scarborough town centre. We will continue to work closely with the council to ensure he pace of delivery is sustained, with a view to announcing our preferred cinema operator in the coming months.” About 300 jobs are set to be created once the site is operational. SGI purchased the 1990s-built shopping centre in September 2021. The scheme will be funded by a mix of private and public sector investment, with work due to start towards the end of the year, and a summer of 2025 opening slated.

West Midlands pizza concept plans Dudley opening for second site: West Midlands pizza concept Buono e Fresco has submitted plans to open its second site, in Dudley. The family that runs the business already has a site in Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Centre and has lodged plans with Dudley Council to convert a former travel agents in the Churchill Shopping Centre in Dudley. A planning statement supporting the scheme said the new restaurant, which would have space for 20 diners as well as serving as a takeaway, could have “significant benefits” for the local economy. Buono e Fresco operates under the concept of a grab-and-go pizzeria, using naturally fermented dough that is made fresh daily, reports the Express & Star.

New £135m Wigan leisure development to include cinema, bowling alley, mini-golf and climbing wall: A new £135m leisure development in Wigan is set to include a 700-seat cinema, bowling alley, mini-golf and climbing wall. Plans for a revamp of the town’s former Galleries shopping centre were first unveiled a decade ago, and a hybrid planning application for the 84,000 square-foot site was granted in November 2021. Developers Cityheart and Wigan Council have now jointly lodged a reserved matters application for the multi-media centre (MMC), which will also include public events space and a games arcade, along with a range of bars and restaurants. There will also be a 144-bedroom hotel and a new market hall and food court, according to the application. Warren Taylor, development director at Cityheart, said: “The MMC was originally going to form part of a later phase of the multi-stage development but has been brought forward to realise the ambition of a truly mixed-use, exciting town centre neighbourhood. We are looking forward to the determination of the application, and if it is successful, making a swift start on site, with demolition commencing in later spring/early summer.” The completed scheme is set to create about 660 full-time jobs.

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