NI firm unveils £200m plan for Liverpool

Speke Road development
Image caption People in Speke are being asked for their opinions on the plans

Proposals to create a £200m leisure complex near Liverpool Airport have been unveiled by a Northern Ireland developer.

The Benmore Group wants to build hotels, a multi-screen cinema, gym and restaurants on a 50-acre brownfield site in Speke.

People in the area are being consulted over the plans which are expected to be submitted over the summer.

A Liverpool council spokesman said the investment was "extremely welcome".

A Benmore Group spokesman said: "The scheme would lead to the creation of 300 jobs and could be open by the middle of 2012.

"It is expected that a further 500 people would be employed during the construction phase."

The developer, which owns the site, is presenting its plans to the public and has asked for feedback during three sessions at the neighbouring New Mersey Retail Park this week.

'Complement facilities'

Benmore chief executive, David Burrows said: "The people of Liverpool are never shy in coming forward with their ideas and suggestions and we hope to obtain some valuable insight into what residents, local businesses and our would-be neighbours think about our plans."

He said that he believed that the application could be determined by the city council by the end of the year.

Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson said: "Such major investment from the private sector is extremely welcome in the current economic climate.

"These proposals would complement the existing retail facilities at Speke, improve one of the city's key gateways and create significant new job opportunities in an area where they are needed."

Benmore Developments is owned by former estate agent Kevin McKay. Its developments include the Westwood shopping centre in Belfast and offices in Manchester.

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