Cricketing legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff has sparked huge debate among Preston locals after saying he was “frustrated” Preston’s post office was still derelict after the city’s council dismissed his plans to turn it into a four star hotel.
But now the council has hit back, saying that Preston has “so much to be positive about”.
Preston-born Freddie said on Twitter he had met for “numerous meetings” with the council over his plans and even lodged an Expression of Interest Application (EOI).
He asked the question of Preston City Council as to what the future held for the Market Street building, seeing dozens of his adoring fans getting behind him.
Many lamented the council’s decision not to take up the former England international’s offer, although no official bid was ever lodged.
On the LEP’s website, Alf Garnett posted: “Freddie just might think that the council just isn’t playing ball with some of their decisions. Sounds rather batty to me.”
User safeashouses said: “This story just sums up Preston Council, just how backward thinking they are.”
But councillor Peter Rankin, Leader of Preston City Council, has hit back saying “there so much for Preston to be positive about”.
He said: “We’ve got the £430m City Deal that’s creating 20,000 new jobs and 17,000 new homes in the area - 750 in Preston City Centre through the new Housing Zone.
“The University of Central Lancashire has just started a £200m re-development of the University campus with the latest in high tech education and learning facilities.
“Then there’s the £50m Markets Quarter project – which is already breathing new life into Preston Market, at the heart of the city centre, alongside the game changing cinema-led development that will further revitalise the area.
“We’ve got £23m of investment going into Preston Bus station, as managed by Lancashire County Council – with a new state of the art Youth Zone Plus.
“Winckley Square is undergoing a multi-million pound renovation, Virgin trains are investing millions into the train station, Simon Rigby is investing similar in the Guild Hall and Guild Tower – all whilst the City Centre is improved through the Fishergate public realm scheme.
“There’s real interest in what’s happening in Preston and developers are coming forward to take advantage of the fantastic opportunities here.
“After many years, it’s now Preston’s turn for major economic regeneration and everyone is working hard to make sure the city fully capitalises on it.”