Theatre of dreams to get planning nod

Vision: Preston Guild Hall to get a brand new look

Vision: Preston Guild Hall to get a brand new look

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Futuristic plans to breathe new life into Preston’s ageing Guild Hall complex look set for a council green light next week.

Wealthy entrepreneur Simon Rigby’s dream of creating an exciting entertainment venue with restaurants and shops could become reality when the city’s planning committee meets on Monday.

The project to revitalise the iconic 1970s building and make it the “beating heart” of Preston, has been recommended for approval, subject to a series of conditions involving materials and landscaping.

And if, as expected, councillors tick it through, work could start once the sale is concluded, possibly next month.

Exactly how much, or how little, Mr Rigby is paying to take the venue off the council’s hands remains confidential. But a Town Hall spokesman said: “It will compensate the council whilst also reflecting the fact that we are making a significant saving. As a package it will be something that is in the interests of Preston.”

The scheme includes two new restaurants, either side of a glass-fronted main entrance on Lancaster Road. The city’s Tourist Information Office will be moved to accommodate one of those, although council bosses could have until April to find alternative premises – probably a smaller scale office within either the Harris Library or the Town Hall.

Mr Rigby insists the new-look Guild Hall will have a “great future” ahead of it. Plans include a new glazed entrance atrium, with new escalators and stairs.

“We see the Guild Hall being the live music venue, almost like the beating heart of Preston right in the centre,” he said.