Wi-fi plans for Preston’s Harris and Flag Market

How Preston's Harris could look. Copyright Purcell Architects

How Preston's Harris could look. Copyright Purcell Architects

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As proposals are unveiled to open up Preston’s Harris, leaders are planning to introduce public wi-fi to the iconic building.

The lack of the facility is the source of most customer complaints, and Preston Council’s cabinet is being urged to approve a £35,000 scheme throughout the building and the Flag Market.

A report to be discussed next week said: “The implementation of building wi-fi will enhance the Harris offering now, making it more attractive to visitors and potentially encouraging more corporate or private rental of gallery spaces to increase revenue.

“Making this investment now sends a positive message to the HLF about Preston’s commitments to creating and sustaining the new vision for the Harris.”

The report said listed building consent would be sought once the finance of the project was agreed, with installation expected to take place early next year.

Building work for the £15m “re-imagining” project is hoped to take place in 2021/22.

The report said: “Implementation of the managed wi-fi system in the Harris building will have a positive impact on the working environment for staff who will be able to work with mobile technology anywhere in the building, whilst at the same time enhancing the Harris offering and making it more attractive to visitors.”

Mark Whittle, manager of Preston Business Improvement District, said: “It’s good news that in this technology-led age that the city is providing a modern solution to visitors.

“It’s widely accepted that people like to use free Wi-Fi and this will provide an opportunity to enjoy it on a complimentary basis whilst visiting that area of the city centre.”