Preston Bus Station will not be demolished after it was revealed the city council now intends to refurbish the building.
The Government granted the 44-year-old structure Grade II listed status last month.
Preston Council wanted to knock down the building and put up a new station in its place.
It said it could not afford the station’s £300,000-a-year running costs or the £17m to £23m revamp and could still have applied for a certificate of demolition.
But in a spectacular U-turn, council leader Peter Rankin said he was now in talks with County Hall chiefs over possible funding.
Coun Rankin said: “We’re looking at ways with our partners to see how we can refurbish the building to a greater or lesser extent. We can’t afford just to leave it.
“It’s a huge challenge for us but I’m determined we will find a way of doing something to lever in some funding to improve the building.”
The Government granted the building Grade II listed status after an application from English Heritage.
The move was opposed by Preston Council, which voted to knock down the station and build a new facility in its place last December.
Coun Peter Rankin said he had been angered by the Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey, branding his decision to not visit Preston before making his ruling “absolutely scandalous”.
However, he said he believed the outcome was “inevitable” because the minister was a fan of British Brutalist architecture, and that while he was “disappointed”, he did not want to fight the decision.
He said: “I very quickly said we’re not going for a judicial review. The legal advice was we had a very slim chance of getting the judges to overturn the minister’s decision. And I wasn’t too keen to follow the idea of applying for consent for a listed building to be demolished.
“It would involve a public inquiry, a lot of money throwing at it, which we can’t afford, and it would take quite a long time.
“At the end of it the building could still be there, so I’ve decided along with my colleagues we’re not pursuing that course of action.
“My personal view is we’re in a dilemma, the same dilemma we’ve been in for quite some time, that we can’t afford to operate it or refurbish it. But, and this is a personal view that I haven’t yet discussed with my colleagues, we can’t afford to leave it as it is. We can’t afford to let it crumble for another 44 years.”
Coun Rankin met with 17 delegates from English Heritage when they visited Preston on October 18.
They are now writing a report for the council.
He said: “We’re in a situation where we need quite a lot of support and help, but we need funding most of all.
“Although English Heritage cannot give us money, they’re very influential people and their support is crucial to us to make any headway with finding money for this historic building.
“We have to grasp the nettle I feel and do as much as we possibly can, as quickly as we possibly can, to lever in some funding into the building. Talking to English Heritage was part of that process and we’re talking to Lancashire County Council.”
Because the bus station has been listed, the council can now apply for Heritage Lottery Funding from the National Lottery.
Meanwhile, campaigners have argued £8.3m of funding put aside by County Hall for a new bus station should be used for refurbishment.
Coun Rankin said: “There is a new administration, officers are talking about options and I’m hoping after I return from holiday next week we’re going to be able to conclude our decision.”
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said it could not comment at this stage as talks between the authorities were ongoing.