A spanish-themed nightclub could come to the centre of Preston as part of a major facelift for a “historic gem” in the city.
The Corn Exchange, once the scene of a workers’ rebellion and later host to bands including The Beatles, could now become two venues as “the newest entertainment and nightlife concept” in Preston.
Plans have been lodged to transform the Grade II-listed building, formerly the Public Hall, into a bar on the ground floor and a nightclub on the first floor.
Part of the structure was demolished to make way for Ringway in the 1980s, before an extension was added, and applications have now been submitted for a new fire escape, canopies and internal changes to the building. Applicant Michael Seddon has lodged ambitious proposals for the iconic building, hoped to make it “more representative of Preston’s city status”.
A statement to Preston Council said the ground floor, “Bar 1842”, would be transformed into a “relaxed cosmopolitan and stylish restaurant and bar”, and said the interior would showcase the history of the building.
It said the bar would include “warm and classic colours”, and designs based around electric blue, antique brown and vintage copper.
It said: “Wherever possible, we will aim to integrate period features into the workings of the bar, with ideas including drinks served in traditional ‘shuttle looms’.
“1842 will boast an impressive central oval style bar, which will be serviceable from every angle, offering an extensive menu of weird and wonderful cocktails, we will be committed to creating a place that truly stimulates all the senses.”
The statement said the bar would serve “cutting edge drinks and products”, and described it as “a place with real heart, to kickback, relax, enjoy and have fun.”
It said entertainment at the bar would be “refined”, with occasional vocalists, live acts and DJs, as well as the opportunity for it to host events including weddings and functions.
If permission is granted by Preston Council, the first floor is set to become “Banus” nightclub, offering a “Marbella-themed VIP experience”.
The statement said: “Banus will take up the entirety of the first floor space, be accessed via its own entrance, and will have a strict door policy with the focus on target demographic, all to strengthen the image of exclusivity. As you enter you will be greeted by an interior that embodies style, sophistication and glamour, with the objective to provide
a VIP experience for everyone.”
Civic expert and local historian Aidan Turner-Bishop said: “Perhaps the building does need refreshing, because it’s looking a bit scruffy and tired.
“When it was the Public Hall very famous artists came along there, all the great stars have been through that place.
“It was the heart of social, musical and political life in Preston for many years.” Mr Turner-Bishop said a refurbishment would give the Corn Exchange “another lease of life for a new generation”. He said: “It refreshes it and, providing they do it tastefully and keep the facade and make it look nice, then what’s the problem?”