Dead end for Preston Bus Station subways?

The subway running between the Guild Hall arcade and Preston bus station

The subway running between the Guild Hall arcade and Preston bus station

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Preston Bus Station’s modernist subways, once a magnet for anti-social behaviour, look set to be closed to the public.

Planning permission and listed building consent is now being sought to close off the subways and carry out a range of work including refurbishing the ground floor concourse, removing and relocating retail uits, replacing external glazing and creating a coach station and offices.

Following consultations with Historic England and the 20th Century Society planning applications have been submitted to the county council for the key changes to be made to the landmark building.

Initial plans for its upgrade and modernisation were unveiled earlier this year.

Alban Cassidy, Director of Cassidy + Ashton, who is the planning consultant for the project, said: “We are acutely aware that any proposed changes to the building will need to respect and enhance the listed status of the bus station.

“The plans includes making the bus station doors automatic to improve access as was originally intended. They will look very similar to the existing ones, using sympathetic and suitable materials.

“The subways within the bus station will no longer be required once new public realm is created on the western bus apron. For this reason we’re planning to close them to the public, which will also deter anti-social behaviour. People will have improved access to and from the building across the new public realm.”

Three subways currently link the Guild Hall arcade and St John’s Shopping Centre to the main bus station and allow access from the north side of the bus station, near B&M and Ringway.

The overhead walkway linking the Guild Hall and car park will remain.

Historic England said: “We welcome the principle of the works and are satisfied that on the whole, they are well considered and would result in a notable improvement to the condition and functionality of the asset. However, we remain concerned with the complete loss of the original doors and would recommend that this element be reconsidered.”

The detailed proposals for a new Youth Zone on the Bus Station site were unveiled recently.