Top developer is still in the frame - VIDEO

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Development giant Lend Lease is still interested in being part of Preston’s city centre rebirth.

Peter Rankin, leader of Preston Council, confirmed the property group remained an “interested party” in the regeneration of parts of the city despite the collapse of its £700m Tithebarn vision.

It was the lead developer throughout a planning inquiry last year it fought alongside the council against a bid from councils in Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen to derail the scheme.

But, when the scheme collapsed following the withdrawal of department store giant John Lewis, a development agreement was torn up.

Coun Rankin said: “Lend Lease are still interested, but we do not have a development agreement with them.

“They are interested in coming to Preston and we are still interested in working with them.

“But, we are interested in working with anyone who wants to come and develop and make a commitment to Preston.”

The Town Hall chief was speaking at a launch event for the city’s investment prospectus to representatives of some of the North West’s leading property developers held in Manchester on Wednesday night.

Simon Reynolds, senior director for property firm GVA which specialises in office developments, quizzed city leaders about the “in-fighting” witnessed at the time of the Tithebarn planning inquiry.

Coun Rankin said he could “not speak for Blackpool and Blackburn” but insisted that Preston’s ambitions had the support of Lancashire County Council leader, Geoff Driver, who lives in the city.

County council chief executive Phil Halsall said: “Our view is that there is only one set of council tax payers, so the people we represent are the same people the city council represent.”

A Lend Lease spokesman was unavailable for comment.




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