£10m hotel and casino bid for Preston’s Guild Tower approved by planners

The Villa Urban -  how the duplex penthouse suite could look

The Villa Urban - how the duplex penthouse suite could look

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Ambitious £10m plans to transform Preston’s tallest tower into a hotel, spa and casino have been given the go-ahead by Town Hall bosses.

Preston Council’s planning committee discussed the major proposals for the 15-storey Guild Tower, which is set to be rebranded as Villa Urban.

Planning permission has been granted to create a 105-room aparthotel, with a spa, gym and casino, although a specific licence is also needed before a casino could be opened.

Officers at Preston Council had recommended the plans from entrepreneur Simon Rigby for approval, and they were unanimously agreed by the committee.

The rooms of the serviced apartments have been designed to increase in size with the height of the building, with “luxury suites” on the top four levels.

Seb Salisbury, architect at the Preston-based Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), said: “We are delighted our plans for the Guild Tower have been approved and we look forward to delivering this ambitious and visionary regeneration scheme to transform this part of Preston city centre.

“We’re already seeing that take shape in the way it is breathing new life into the Guild Hall and the start of a new Market Quarter nearby.

“These are exciting times for Preston and Villa Urban simply adds to the conviction that positive things are happening in the city centre.

“We have designed a stylish mixed-use development with a modern aparthotel that will attract visitors into the city centre, along with a casino and spa and gym facilities that are also designed to complement Guild Hall complex’s role as a 21st-century leisure destination.”

The latest approval follows consent to convert part of the Guild Hall into a bowling alley, crazy golf course and a sports bar.

Seb said: “The Guild Tower is currently unloved and poorly used in the context of the surrounding buildings and public realm.

“Our masterplan will revitalise this part of the city centre and will complement the significant improvements to the bus station and surrounding area.

“The Guild Hall complex needs more uses and better connectivity to once again become a venue that is very close to the hearts of many Prestonians.

“In all our designs and concepts we are committed to breathing new life into what had become a tired building.

“Our work seeks to better connect the Guild Hall with the public and the city centre, drawing more people in to its growing list of attractions.

“The Guild Tower proposal is part of this vision.”