A LISTED building in Preston city centre is set to be given a new lease of life after standing empty for almost six years.
Sainsbury’s and NewRiver Retail, a specialist retail property investor and developer, have submitted plans to Preston Council to convert the former HSBC bank in Fishergate, into a ‘Local’ store.
If given the go ahead the new store would create up to 20 full and part-time jobs.
Peta Brydon, Sainsbury’s Convenience Surveyor for the North East and West of England, said: “We feel that a Sainsbury’s Local would complement the other major retailers operating on Fishergate.
“We have wanted to open a shop here for a long time and the conversion would ensure that the listed building isn’t left standing vacant any longer.”
He added: ““Sainsbury’s always focuses on recruiting colleagues from the local community and we work with local job centres and organisations such as Remploy in order to ensure this.”
Allan Lockhart, Property Director at NewRiver Retail, added: “We are delighted to complete our first investment in Preston with the simultaneous purchase and pre-let to Sainsbury’s of 40 Fishergate, re-activating a formerly vacant 10,000 sq ft retail unit in Preston’s main high street. NewRiver will undertake the initial strip out works before handing over to Sainsbury late summer.”
Council Leader Coun Peter Rankin, said the plans are ‘positive news’ for the city.
He added: “We welcome the creation of more jobs in the city. We welcome that a wonderful listed building is being brought back into use and we welcome the confidence being shown in our city centre by developers and retailers.”
County Coun John Fillis, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said the £3.4m Fishergate Central Gateway project which is currently underway aims to bring new developments to Preston by making the city centre a more attractive place and it is “encouraging” that these plans have been tabled before the project has been finished.
The store would be open every day from 7am until 11pm and would offer an ATM facility.
Sainsbury’s has also applied for a license to allow the store to sell alcohol.