A FOUNDATION plaque has been laid at the bowling alley and leisure complex in Bishop's Stortford.

In recognition of the interest generated by the much-awaited centre, East Herts District Council chairman Bob Parker laid a commemorative plaque in the bedrock of the Anchor Street building.

Although the centre is not expected to open until December, work began on the site in October, sparking much interest from residents.

Commenting on the progress of the centre, which will include a six-screen cinema, Mr Parker said: 'I'm delighted this facility is now nearing completion. It's six years since we first decided to agree to this scheme and we have suffered some serious doubts and heartaches on the way.'

He added: 'As one of those who made the original decision I could not be happier than to see the scheme progressing in this way.'

The council, which owns the freehold of the land, earmarked the site near the railway station as the ideal location for the facility and signed contracts with developer Citygrove Leisure Ltd last October.

Citygrove's development director James Fawcett said: 'This is a long-awaited project which we are proud to be associated with.

'People of Bishop's Stortford will enjoy the state-of-the-art facilities which are due to open just before Christmas. Credit is due to the forward-thinking nature of the many council members who have supported this scheme.'

The complex will also feature a 12-lane bowling alley, fitness club and three restaurants and the principal operators have already signed up. Cine-UK will manage the cinema, PB Leisure will run the bowling alley and Cannons Health and Fitness Club will run the fitness suite.