PLANS to build a multi-million pound cinema and leisure complex on "eyesore" derelict land in a Gwent town are to go ahead.

Work will start in the next two months on a £15 million leisure complex incorporating an eight-screen cinema, bowling alley and restaurants in the centre of Cwmbran after Torfaen councillors gave plans the green light yesterday.

Cardiff developers Mint Blue are building the complex on the site of a former multi-storey car park on Glyndwr Road.

More than 200 jobs will be created by the project which is expected to be operating by the autumn of 2007.

Director of Mint Blue, John Ives, said: "We're delighted the application was approved and we are now looking forward to getting work started as soon as possible."

Members of Torfaen council's Planning committee welcomed the proposal.

Councillor Aneurin James, Torfaen council's member for Llantarnam, said Cwmbran had "always lacked facilities for the evening" and said the project was what the town needed and would benefit young people across Torfaen and the valleys.

Torfaen council's chief officer for planning and public protection, Duncan Smith told members there was provision in the plans for the project to link into the town centre.

National leisure company Bowlplex will operate the 30,000 sq ft bowling alley.

The company already owns 16 complexes across the UK. A spokeswoman said the 24-lane bowling alley would create 40 jobs. Cinema operator View Entertainment will operate an eight-screen cinema and the site will also include at least four top-name restaurants, including Portuguese restaurant chain Nando's and American eatery Frankie and Benny's.

A night club and a bar are also included in the plans. It's understood a total of around 240 jobs will be created by the development.

It's understood the cinema and bowling alley should be operational by November 2007.

Last year Torfaen council bosses revealed their blueprint for the regeneration of Cwmbran, which they are confident will attract £100 million in private investment over the next decade.

Planning chief Mr Smith has told the Argus the Mint Blue development is a major part of those plans.