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Wed 19th Feb 2014 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

BrewDog woos Europe’s top beer bloggers with five-star visit to brewery: BrewDog has flown ten top beer writers and bloggers from Europe and the UK to its brewery in Elen, Aberdeenshire in a charm offensive. The writers on Monday’s trip included beer bloggers from Finland, Norway and France, as well as Mark Dredge, winner of the Shepherd Neame award for beer and food writing in the 2013 British Guild of Beer Writers awards and Propel Info’s managing editor, Martyn Cornell, a leading beer blogger who won the award for beer-and-travel writing at the 2013 awards. BrewDog’s founders, James Watt and Martin Dickie, showed off new and experimental brews, took the writers on a tour of the company’s 13-month-old brewery at Elen, currently being expanded to increase production and provide a visitors’ centre and bottle shop and a ten-hectolitre trial brew plant. The BrewDog team also drove them to see the company’s original brewery at Fraserbrough, 25 miles away, which is still in use for short-run brews. In the evening the writers were treated to a food-and-beer matching meal at Musa, the restaurant, bar and arts and music venue in Aberdeen owned by Watt. Cornell said: “This was a flattering and intensive wooing of people BrewDog clearly regards as important influencers to win over as it seeks to present itself to the world as the country’s leading ‘non-mainstream’ brewer. All the same, the set-up at Elen is extremely impressive: it is clear from their growth and continued success that the BrewDog team are much more than their sometimes controversial image might suggest.” Meanwhile, Watt and Dickie are to make a second season of their American TV show for the Esquire channel, in which the pair travel across the United States meeting and collaborating with other craft brewers. Brews in the first series included the world’s most caffeinated beer, and a beer brewed in Boston Harbour made with lobsters and clams. The first series aired in the United States last year, and the second, which consists of ten more episodes filmed in the US, goes out later this year.

Industry News:

Russell Norman mentors Gravesend pizzeria in tonight’s Restaurant Man: Restaurateur Russell Norman will be mentoring a pizzeria in Gravesend, Kent for tonight’s Restaurant Man on BBC Two. The restaurant features a wood-fired pizza oven and is the brainchild of local businessman Tony Salernos and his family.

Brighton police deploy police cadets in first underage sting of its kind: Late-night cafes, bars and clubs have been caught selling alcohol to children as young as 16 in an undercover police operation thought to be the first of its kind in the country. Sussex Police used teenage police cadets to try to buy alcohol from a number of city centre venues in Brighton and Hove, with alarming success. Four of the six venues that the operation targeted sold alcohol to underage customers on Saturday night. The operation was launched in response to intelligence received by police over a number of worrying incidents including ongoing police investigations into sexual assaults of underage girls in at least two Brighton clubs.

ALMR – £10m funding available to relieve floods impact: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, working with the Tourism Alliance in liaising with the government since flooding began last November, has confirmed that the government has established a £10m business support scheme to alleviate the impacts of the floods on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The ALMR said: “This is in addition to business rates relief and other measures announced last week. The support will be provided through local authorities to help with clean-up costs, materials and other costs required to keep the business trading. Authorities will be working closely with affected businesses to avoid duplicating assistance available through insurance and although they will have discretion in allocating funding, government guidance emphasises the average award of £2,500 in past, similar situations.”

Luke Johnson – I am increasingly reluctant to sell good businesses: Sector investor Luke Johnson has reported that the addictive nature of long-term business investment means he is increasingly unwilling to sell the quality companies he takes a stake in. In his Financial Times column, he wrote: “I buy part of a company, nurture it and wait. At heart, capitalism is essentially the deferral of rewards. Instead of working and receiving a monthly salary, investors in private companies risk their funds and hope for a capital gain, perhaps half a decade hence. Usually such companies are expanding and need to reinvest their earnings. They cannot even pay an income to the owners in the meantime. This attitude becomes addictive. I focus more than ever on medium to long-term growth in companies I own, which means I want businesses that endure, rather than transient victories. I find the idea of flipping a business for a quick turn unappealing. Identifying an attractive business and negotiating a transaction is so hard that I am increasingly reluctant to let the good ones go. That is partly because I have sold out far too early from some of my winners. So nowadays I risk making the opposite mistake – keeping them too long.”

Company News:

Marco Pierre White to open restaurant in Sheffield: Marco Pierre White is to open a new venue in Sheffield. Marco’s New York Italian opens on West Bar Street in late March. He has appointed John Cluckie and Len Roberts as head chef and restaurant manager respectively. White said: “We’re in the final stages of pre-opening and all set to hit the ground running when we open. The team is prepared and eager to start welcoming guests. John and Len are fantastic, their enthusiasm and ambition sets them apart and I’m confident they will deliver a great experience. We want Marco’s to raise the bar for New York Italian food in the city. It is a place for people to enjoy a bite to eat after work, dine with the family or get glammed up for a special occasion. It is an all-occasion venue, there is no pretence about us, we simply want people to spend time with us and relax whilst enjoying some quality food.”

Renaissance Pubs to open boutique hotel as first step in new direction: The London gastro-pub operator Renaissance Pubs, headed by Tom Peake, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox, is to open its first boutique hotel this spring above the Tommyfield in Kennington, South London. The Tommyfield Hotel Rooms will be spread over two upper floors of the historic public house at Kennington Cross. Renaissance hinted the opening was just the first step in a new direction, with more hotel rooms to follow for the award-winning pub group, which celebrated its tenth birthday in 2013. A spokesman said: “2014 promises to be a vintage year for Renaissance Pubs, with another major announcement imminent, in addition to substantial refurbishments this spring to the gardens at both The Stonhouse and The Avalon in Clapham.”

Timothy Taylor sells Yorkshire pub to JD Wetherspoon: Brewer Timothy Taylor has sold The Old Unicorn pub in Bramley, West Leeds, Yorkshire (population: 21,681) to JD Wetherspoon. It closes today and is set to undergo a £1.6m refurbishment. A spokesman for Wetherspoon said: “We are applying for planning and licensing permission to redevelop the pub and double its size and will not have an on-site or open date until planning and licensing permission is obtained.” Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We have enjoyed great success in Yorkshire and are delighted to be purchasing another pub, with the aim of developing it into a Wetherspoon outlet.” Timothy Taylor, based in Keighley, Yorkshire, bought the Old Unicorn in 2006 from Musgrave & Sagar, an old Leeds company founded in 1793 as a malting and brewing business. Meanwhile, Wetherspoon has submitted a planning application to North Herts Council to turn the Hitchin Conservative club on Sun Street, Hitchin into a Wetherspoon pub. The application is for change of use of the club to public house, for a single storey rear and side extension and refurbishment throughout.

Harris & Hoole secures alcohol licences at three stores: Harris & Hoole, the coffee shop chain part-owned by Tesco, could start to sell beer and wine despite upsetting residents in Twickenham with similar plans last year. Harris & Hoole’s chief executive, Nick Tolley, told the London Evening Standard that he has alcohol licences for three other stores in and around London, adding: “The motivation came from our customers, who were saying, ‘It’s a pity you are closing at six o’clock at night, this would be a lovely place to have a glass of wine.’ We also want to have lots of community events in the shops and would keep the shops open late to do that. Having a coffee at seven or eight in the evening is the last thing people want to do, but having a glass of wine is.” The three stores with licences are in Sunbury in Middlesex, Walton in Surrey and North Finchley in London. Last year the company incurred the wrath of residents in St Margarets, Twickenham when it applied for an alcohol licence for its outlet there. The company later withdrew the application.

Burger Bear seeks crowd-funding to go permanent: Restaurateur Tom Reaney is seeking to raise £30,000 through the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to turn his Burger Bear pop-up burger stand into one permanently housed in two stacked used cargo containers. The project will be funded if the total is raised by March 14, 2014 – so far, 162 backer have pledged £7,524 of the total. The Brand’s Kickstarter page says the restaurant, which will be located in Shoreditch, East London, will be unlike any other burger brand in the city. It says: “Expect panoramic views of Red Market and its street art from the glass-walled overhanging upper container. The interior will be built largely from second-hand, reclaimed materials, by volunteers, so it’s as sustainable and cheap to do as feasibly possible.” A “gigantic spinning burger” is planned for on top of the containers. Reaney said: “Burger Bear is, relatively speaking, a new business. However, I have 15 years’ experience in food, hospitality and events management, from which I bring valuable experience and expertise. In a short time, Burger Bear has gained a loyal and passionate regular customer base, with devotees often travelling across London and further for the food and experience.”

Prezzo starts to serve exclusive artisan gelato: Prezzo is now serving artisanal Italian gelato by Gelupo in all of its restaurants, having obtained exclusive rights to the brand. Gelupo is the London gelateria of Jacob Kenedy, who has won acclaim for his gelato and sorbet. The varieties include amaretti gelato, banana stracciatella gelato, hazelnut gelato, cherry sorbet, and the “Gelupo Gelato Burger”, a toasted brioche bun filled with two large scoops of gelato. The gelato is handmade, in small batches. Kenedy has received widespread acclaim for his gelato range, including two stars in the 2013 Great Taste Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, for three Gelupo flavours.

Best Place Inns wins top five London ranking for burger: Best Place Inns has won a top five rating, from readers of Twenty Something London for the Juicy Bastard burger served at its Burger Craft concepts. As a result of the placing, Burger Craft will attend its first food festival next month, Burger Fest 2014. The one-day event will be held at Hackney Down Studios in East London on March 15, and feature four other top-ten burger kitchens, Honest Burger, Street Kitchen, Mother Flipper, and Wild Game Co. Burger Craft first launched at the Green Man pub on Edgware Road in North London in December 2013, followed by a second burger kitchen at the Great Eastern in the Docklands. A third Burger Craft kitchen opens in the Crown in Battersea, South London on February 26. Best Place Inns’ managing director, Ben Stackhouse, said: “Juicy Bastard is a glorious handcrafted burger and our best seller across the group. We’re delighted to be a part of Twenty Something London’s top ten burgers and be placed among some of the most esteemed burger kitchens in London.”

Marston’s win planning battle for homes plan: Marston’s Inns has won a planning battle to build 300 homes on land in Burton upon Trent after the company won its long-standing battle with the local council because council officers had been tardy in proving they had a five-year plan for new housing. East Staffordshire Council failed to make an initial decision on the site within the time frame when outline plans were first submitted. As a result, the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, has approved a subsequent appeal over the council’s out-of-date land supply. The planning authority has also been told to pay partial, as yet-unknown, costs for expenses incurred by Marston’s due to the council’s “late change” in the case. The independent planning inspectorate, Brendon Lyons, said: “The council appeared at an inquiry in May and did not contest that it did not have a five-year land supply. It was only a few days prior to the current inquiry opening that it suggested it had changed its mind and then only on the day before the inquiry produced a substantial proof of evidence purporting to claim that it could demonstrate a five-year land supply.”

Mitchells & Butlers’ Nicholson’s chain gets Danny Wallace beer exclusive: Mitchells & Butlers’ Nicholson’s Pubs brand will be the first in the UK to launch the new collaborative beer by British journalist, author and presenter Danny Wallace and Truman’s Brewery during its forthcoming Nicholson’s Spring Ales Festival. Tom Ditto IPA (5% ABV) has been created to mark the release of Wallace’s new novel Who is Tom Ditto? published by Ebury Press on April 24. Nicholson’s will be the first to exclusively distribute the beer nationwide across its 77-pub estate during its festival, which takes place from March 24 to April 19. Wallace includes two of Nicholson’s London pubs, The Bear and Staff and The Dog and Duck, in the new book. Ben Lockwood, assistant brand manager for Nicholson’s Pubs, said: “We’re always looking for innovative beers to showcase during our festivals and to have something as seasonally refreshing and interesting as Danny Wallace’s beer will be a highlight for us. Danny is a great ambassador for British pubs with a real enthusiasm for beer as well, so we’re pleased to be able to use this in a really engaging and innovative way for the benefit of our ale-loving guests.”

Papa John’s on target to open 50 sites this year in UK: Pizza franchise Papa John’s has announced it is “on target” to open 50 new outlets before the end of the year, having already opened stores in six UK locations over the past month. After its “biggest and best” franchisee incentive scheme for 2014, the chain has added new stores in West Ealing, Bishop’s Stortford, Cheltenham, Durham, Warrington and Stafford, and is keen to build on its growth so far. Established in 1984, Papa John’s claims to be one of the largest pizza companies in the world and has more than 4,300 outlets worldwide, with 250 stores across Britain. Anthony Round, business development manager for Papa John’s, said: “The whole Papa John’s team is focused on UK growth for 2014. We have some fantastic incentive deals currently on offer to support franchisees and get new outlets open and off to a great start and these are proving particularly popular. There are many more [stores] in the pipeline.”

Jamie Oliver launches Australia-wide Ministry of Food pop-up competition: Jamie Oliver has launched a national competition for one town in each state in Australia to win its own pop-up Ministry of Food for 12 months. The Ministry of Food runs inexpensive cooking classes that aim to “inspire even the most inexperienced cook how to make a meal from scratch”. Australia already has two permanent sites, with a third to open in Sydney later this year.

Milltown Brewing to re-open Punch pub next week after £120,000 co-investment: Milltown Brewing Co will re-open Punch Taverns’ The Dusty Miller in Huddersfield next Thursday (27 February) after a £120,000 co-investment with Punch that will expand the cask ale offer. Neil Moorhouse managing director of Milltown Brewing, said: “This is the first pub Milltown Brewing Co. have taken on and, considering its reputation for its cask ale, we wanted to grow and develop this. We will be looking to add an additional two handpulls and include guest ales from Milltown as well as other regional brewers. The investment will strengthen our cask ale offer and bring the pub back to the community. We will be continuing our successful acoustic and quiz nights, while reinstating our dart, dominoes and pool teams.”

Fearnley-Whittingstall launches YouTube channel: Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has launched a YouTube channel that will join Jamie Oliver’s emerging Food Tube network. Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new channel, River Cottage Food Tube, will be produced by Keo Films’ digital division from locations that have been used throughout the long-running Channel 4 TV series. They include a 65-acre “production studio”, a working farm and cookery school, the River Cottage Canteens, and a London studio. The channel will run throughout the year and feature a variety of archive content, new shows and live events focused on alternative meals and sustainable living. It aims to tap into the River Cottage website’s 1.5 million registered users and five million-strong presence across social media. Nick Underhill, head of digital at Keo, said the channel was a valuable addition to the show’s brand. “Audience behaviour is changing,” he said. “The River Cottage audience is passionate, loyal and hungry for more River Cottage content.”

International fusion concept opens in Belfast: A new international fusion restaurant, Maze, has opened in Wellington Place in Belfast city centre. It is the brainchild of chef and restaurateur Michael Karan, who moved to Northern Ireland from New Delhi ten years ago. Seating 130 people, Maze has a lava stone grill, which makes the restaurant’s speciality Argentinean-style, spiral cut steaks with chimichurri sauce. Karan said: “Our aim is to become part of the fabric of Belfast life, a place where you can come for breakfast, lunch and enjoy sumptuous dinners with wine and cocktails in the evenings. We will be open non-stop from 8am until late to suit people’s increasingly varied and busy lifestyles.”

Former Starbucks marketing chief resurfaces at Netflix: Danielle Crook, the ex-Starbucks marketer, has been appointed as director of marketing for Europe at Netflix. Crook revealed she was leaving her position as vice-president for marketing at Starbucks in October last year, to relocate to the United States with her partner. In her new role, Crook will be based at Netflix’s headquarters in Beverly Hills, California, starting in mid-March. Netflix’s content and marketing teams are based in Beverly Hills and the engineers are located in the Bay area of San Francisco, but Netflix has satellite offices in European cities including Amsterdam.

Yum! Brands unveils eight-firm panel to advise in the UK: The owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, Yum! Brands, has unveiled an eight-strong panel of expert firms to advise it in the UK for the next two years. Clyde & Co and Eversheds will advise Yum! Brands for the first time having been appointed as part of a new eight-firm panel in the UK. The firms will be joined on the panel by Howard Kennedy FSI, Squire Sanders and Collins Dryland & Thorowgood, which will advise on property work; the Solihull-based Whiting & Purches took the mandate to advise on health and safety and food; Leeds-based Woods Whur will advise on licensing work after it acted for KFC for the first time last year; Wright Hassell will advise immigration matters; and Burness Paul has been appointed for Scotland. Eversheds will provide property and employment advice while Clyde & Co has been appointed to advise on general commercial issues and litigation. The new roster will remain in place for an initial two-year period. Yum! Brands, legal director, Sarah Nelson Smith, reviewed the informal roster of firms for the UK and Scotland with the aim of cutting legal spend and encouraging the use of fixed fee arrangement as well as value-added services offered by firms with formal panel positions. She said: “There were various areas, for example in real estate, where fees had increased year-on-year which in the rest of the market wasn’t normal. So we looked for capped and fixed fees where they were available.”

Mason & Co sells Enterprise lease in Dalston: Mason & Co owner Edward Mason has sold the Duke of Wellington on Balls Pond Road in Dalston, East London through agent Davis Coffer Lyons to husband and wife team, Miles and Zoe Hutchins. The couple have purchased the remainder of a 20-year FRI Enterprise Inns tied lease from 2000 for an undisclosed sum. Mason has sold the pub to focus on developing and expanding the Five Points Brewing Company in Hackney, East London, which he launched early last year (2013). He also continues to operate two pubs in Yorkshire, the grade II listed Whitelock’s Ale House in Leeds, the city’s oldest pub, and the Deramore Arms in York. Chris Bickle, associate director at DCL, said: “This area of London has benefitted greatly from the East London line extension as well as Hackney’s overall rise in popularity in both commercial and residential terms. There are a lot of opportunities here which have been recognised by numerous start-ups as well as established leisure groups. We have a few more deals in the pipeline and hope to be able to make further announcements in due course.” Mason said: “Over the past five years our team have reinvigorated and re-popularised what was previously a failing pub. By focusing on craft beers, quality food, beer festivals and events it is now a much loved pub at the heart of the local community. Although I am moving on to focus on my brewing company, I am confident that Miles and Zoe’s will take the pub to new heights.”

Punch donates memorial to village: A war memorial that stands on land within the property boundary of a pub has been donated to a village parish by Punch Taverns. The First World War memorial in Oakamoor, North Staffordshire, which sits on the Square as part of the Punch-owned Cricketers Arms, site, was donated on 31 January. Gary Wild, estates development manager at Punch, said: “The memorial formed part of our ownership of the Cricketers Arms which is currently for sale. We wanted to ensure that the village had ownership of it for future posterity. The villagers do such a good job of upkeep, we approached the parish council to make the donation and we are pleased to announce that it is now in their ownership.” Jeff Wood of Oakamoor Parish Council, was delighted to accept the donation, saying: “It is important that memorials such as this remain an essential feature at the heart of Oakamoor. We are delighted to have it in our ownership and would like to thank Punch Taverns for the donation.”

Actor Robert Lindsay tells micro-brewery to stop using his image: A micro-brewery based in Tooting, South London may have to stop producing an award-winning Citizen Smith-themed beer after objections from actor Robert Lindsay. The small By The Horns Brewing Company claims to have been told it must stop producing its popular Wolfie Smith Amber Ale if it insists on carrying a label with an image of Lindsay in the guise of Citizen Smith, the hapless Marxist he played in the popular sitcom of the same name between 1977 and 1980. The brewery, which created the 5.2% strength ale last year as part of a range celebrating life in London, says an agent working for Lindsay made contact to say the actor did not want to be linked with an alcoholic beverage.

Long-serving Enterprise lessee snaps up Punch Taverns freehold in the same village: Long-serving Enterprise Inns lessee Mick Gornall is giving up his site, the King’s Arms in Garstang, Lancashire, after 20 years, having bought the freehold of a Punch Taverns pub in the same village. He has taken over the former Bell and Bottle, boarded up for over a year, and re-named it The Farmers, which is its former name. Gornall said: “It has always been the Farmers, even with all the changes, and it makes sense to rename it something everyone is familiar with. It will be a traditional local pub for people to drop in after a walk, or for an evening drink, and I’ll carry on with the darts and pool leagues.” He said the new look Farmers would open its doors in the next few months after a re-fit and the conversion of new living quarters. Enterprise Inns said in a statement: “The Kings Arms leasehold is on the market for the first time in over 20 years, and Enterprise would like to thank Mick Gornall for running a great community pub throughout this time. This is an outstanding pub business which offers the potential for a new operator to grow the food and drinks offer and engage with the local community to drive the business to even greater success.”

Byron to open in Milton Keynes next month: The better burger concept Byron, headed by Tom Byng, will open in The Centre, Milton Keynes next month. Byron will be located on Silbury Arcade opposite Carluccio’s. James Waugh, the centre’s director, said: “We are delighted that Byron is coming to the Centre MK as we believe the values of the brand and its focus on quality and sustainability fit perfectly with the demands of our guests.”

Jason Atherton takes Bethnal Green site: Chef Jason Atherton is to open an as yet unnamed restaurant at the Viajante site at the Town Hall hotel in Bethnal Green in East London. Atherton has teamed up with the Singaporean lawyer turned restaurateur/hotelier Loh Lik Peng. Atherton plans to install Lee Westcott as executive chef of the new restaurant, launching in April. Westcott, currently executive chef of Atherton’s 22Ships and Ham & Sherry in Hong Kong, worked alongside Tom Aikens for four years, heading the kitchen at his restaurant in Chelsea, London. He has also worked at Per Se in New York, Noma, and with Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s.

Douglas Jack – a solid Restaurant Group trading update is expected: Numis Securities’ leisure analyst, Douglas Jack, has put an Add recommendation on Restaurant Group shares with a target price of 660p. He said: “Final results are due on 26 February. We/consensus are forecasting PBT to be up 12%, driven by 9% sales growth and a c.25bps increase in EBIT margins. Although January-February trading has been against tough comps (of +6.5%), we expect the outlook for the rest of the year to be positive and for forecasts to be held. Total sales rose 9% in 2013E, of which expansion accounted for 5.5%. This compares to an 8.3% (35) increase in the number of outlets and an estimated 6.6% increase in the average number of outlets, implying that average sales in the new sites were lower that the estate average. 36-43 sites are expected to open in 2014E. EBIT margins rose by an estimated 25bps in 2013E and our 2014E forecasts (which are in line with consensus) assume just 10bps growth. Encouragingly, wholesale food cost inflation, which averaged 4.1% in 2013E, has now slowed to 2.1% and like-for-like sales prospects are good: 2013 cinema attendance was 2.7% below the 5-year average (partly due to disadvantageous weather); and the economic backdrop is improving. The 20.7x P/E (11.2x EV/EBITDA) rating is full, in our view. However, the company should be capable of maintaining double-digit earnings growth in 2014E, a year in which we expect LFL sales momentum to continue and cost pressure to be subdued. However, labour and rent costs will have to be watched closely.”

Pair in fight for Wolverhampton casino licence: Wolverhampton Council is to evaluate two bids for a proposed casino, one from Casino 36 Ltd, of Temple Street in the city, and Wolverhampton Racecourse in Dunstall Park. The two applications will now be subject to scrutiny by the council’s evaluation panel, which will prepare a report for the city’s licensing committee to discuss in June, where the licence will be awarded to the successful applicant. Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration and prosperity, said: “I am delighted we are getting closer to awarding the casino licence and we have two strong bids to consider.” Wolverhampton was one of only 16 authorities given the right, by Parliament to grant a casino premises licence under the Gambling Act 2005.

Yorkshire inn sells off £325,000 asking price: The Coachman Inn, a Grade II listed stone-built, Georgian property located in the village of Snainton in North Yorkshire has been sold off an asking price of £325,00 by agent Fleurets in nine weeks from instruction to completion. “The level of response to our marketing was outstanding and reflects not only the appeal of the individual property, but the increased interest in the leisure property market,” said David Broschomb of Fleurets. New owner is Mark Cooper.

Five restaurants proposed for ‘tired’ shopping centre: A developer is looking to revitalise a “tired and dated” shopping centre in Bolton by transforming retail units into five new restaurants or bars and a large cinema. The agent Simply Planning has lodged plans with Bolton Council to change a number of existing vacant retail units in the Crompton Place shopping centre into four medium-sized and one large restaurant, plus 11-screen cinema providing a total of 1,300 seats. Simply Planning said “the centre was not performing to its full capacity” as a result of a large area of vacant space. It said: “The aim of these proposals is to find a viable use for the vacant space that will enable it to be used to its potential, and therefore to contribute to overall development of Bolton town centre.” The existing shopping centre was “tired, dated and in need of refurbishment”, the agent said, and adding a cinema and restaurants would widen its appeal. No details of potential lessees of the restaurant spaces have been released.

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