A hidden slice of Preston’s heritage has been knocked down - before it fell down.
Weavers’ cottages in a dingy Victorian alleyway behind city centre shops have been flattened for safety reasons after council officers decided they were in danger of collapse.
A planning application to demolish the historic properties in New Cock Yard - which housed six bedsits before fire gutted the building - and replace them with an updated set of apartments is not due to go before the city council for another month.
But a spokesman explained: “We couldn’t wait any longer, the place was in a right state and ready to fall down. Internal floors had already collapsed and there was a real danger the rest of the building could go.
“It doesn’t have any bearing on the planning application. The scheme was to knock the premises down and rebuild, retaining the character and charm of the original. That will still be considered by the planning committee in due course - even though the demolition bit has already happened.”
The disappearance of the cottages means another piece of historic New Cock Yard has vanished. For almost two centuries the narrow thoroughfare was a hub of activity, with its own pub, workshops and houses.
Legend has it Charles Dickens drank at the New Cock Inn which eventually closed in the late 1970s. That top part of New Cock Yard, accessed between shops on Fishergate, has since been replaced by a Boots store.
But a substantial part of the Yard still remains in what is now part of the Winkley Square Conservation Area and now branded as Preston Old Town.