Bus station transformation plan clears another hurdle

The New York based architect, John Puttick, at Preston Bus Station
The New York based architect, John Puttick, at Preston Bus Station
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MULTI-million pound plans to regenerate and update Preston’s renowned Bus Station and car park and create a new city Youth Zone have cleared another hurdle.

A majority of Lancashire county council’s executive scrutiny committee members gave their blessing yesterday to the ambitious £24m plans, despite an objection from Tory Coun Albert Atkinson.

He said he could agree to the £11.8m proposals for the bus station and car park, £2m of public realm work and £2.6m for highway works, but he could not agree to providing an extra £925,000 of funding for the Youth Zone, when the money could be spent on facilities elsewhere in Lancashire. He said: “I don’t think we should sacrifice that money.”

Earlier New York-based architect John Puttick had given a presentation to councillors describing his plans for the Grade II listed building, which the council took over in March 2014 when ownership was transferred from Preston City Council.

Mr Puttick won an architectural competition for the project, but was then forced back to the drawing board when Historic England and the Twentieth Century Society objected to plans to link the new Youth Zone directly to the Bus Station and its proximity to the station – long hailed as a masterpiece of Brutalist architecture.

Last month the county council unveiled the new plans for the now freestanding £6.9m Zone, which will have a football pitch on the roof and numerous activity areas, including a climbing wall, on the ground floor.

Eddie Sutton, the council’s director for Development and Corporate Services updated councillors on the plans.

They will see buses and coaches use one side of the station and the creation of a new-look public space on the other. Some £900,000 is being allocated for suicide prevention barriers on the car park.

Tomorrow, the council’s cabinet will be asked to give the go-ahead for the project and fund the extra £925,000 Zone costs. Planning applications and listed building consents for the work – which includes replacement of the station’s facade with more robust materials, while retaining the station’s iconic appearance – will then be submitted.