Building work on a brand new 11-screen cinema and restaurant development at the White Rose Shopping Centre has begun.
Children from Asquith Primary School, in Morley, have helped to mark the milestone while unveiling a series of movie-themed hoardings they designed following the start of construction on Friday.
The 65,000 sq ft expansion of the Churwell complex will be anchored by a new Cineworld cinema, which will host IMAX technology, as well as six new restaurants and an outdoor play area.
Construction of the new facilities, featuring new outlets for Pizza Hut, Wagamama, TGI Fridays and Chiquito, is due to take around 18 months.
Steven Foster, general manager at the White Rose, said: “Working with the community is really important to us here at White Rose Shopping Centre. As a result, we wanted to involve the children at local school, Asquith Primary School, to showcase their talents on our brand new project.
“Our new leisure complex is not only an exciting time for us, but also for the local area and will provide 350 new full time and part-time jobs.”
Asquith Primary pupils Mollie Harrington, Daisy Waterworth, Kayla Roberts, Liam Page and Jack Naylor won a design competition, which has seen their film-themed drawings displayed next to the building site. Each of the winners attended the official ground-breaking ceremony alongside the Leeds Children’s Mayor Hannah Begum last week. The young designers also won £50 vouchers to spend in the shopping centre for their efforts.
Plans for an extension to the 680,000 sq ft White Rose have been in the pipeline for four years. Initial plans were approved by Leeds City Council in 2013, but the addition of an IMAX screen brought it back before planners last year.